It is regrettable that the Gleaner has again found it fit to publish the so-called “prophetic utterances” of Steve Lyston and his unstoppable band of seers who insist they speak on behalf of the Almighty.
It made the “News” again this year, but is it really news, and is it really necessary? When you read through these predictions, you realise the mutterings are just based on national and global trends with their inevitable outcome should they remain unchecked. And it is inconceivable that the foretellers keep churning out this piffle year after year, with no proof a single word came to pass the year before.
If there is anyone out there keeping track of the success rate, it’s only fair you share it with the rest of us. Even without the benefit of cable news and cellphones, biblical prophets had to be right on target and weren’t allowed to get off this easily. I’m sure the success rate of one hundred percent still stands, since anything less means — well, you know the usual Mosaic penalty. God was into zero tolerance back then, but who knows? He could be “doing a new thing” nowadays, relaxing the rules a little.
That these mortals have convinced themselves their deluded minds echo the thoughts and intent of God in such detail smacks of arrogance. It eludes me as to why after leaving such an extensive manual that goes all the way back beyond the Iron Age to the dawn of creation, God would still need to micro-manage our day-to-day affairs and butt in to warn us of dire events to come, which politician He plans to smite, and who needs to see a doctor, when major disasters have come to pass over the past decade without as much as a by-your-leave from Him.
Did the Lyston School of Prophets forecast the Great Tsunami of 2004 or the 9/11 bombing of the Twin Towers? Surely such catastrophic events warranted even a wee warning signal?
And ironically there was among the forecasts, cautionary advice to the faithful regarding investment in imminent deceptive schemes, and the exhortation to “pray in tongues” to avert deception. Good Lord, why hadn’t You issued this warning before the grand meltdown of the Forex schemes that swallowed life savings and church building funds into the black holes of Olint and Cash Plus? Too much, too little, too late.
But with the vast number of prophecies on the list, chances are some of them will appear to come to pass, as much of the information that seeded them has been in the news over the past months. And alas! Poor BO and family of the US are also numbered among those to be smitten, having from time to time opposed the will of the Almighty. Well, the soothsayers are asking for prayer for him, hopefully not Psalm 109:8, as is the latest church craze.
Should we believe God is power-mad, needing to deliver vile threats to individuals and national leaders to ensure they submit to His will? Forced worship would be an insult to my rulership if I were God, and threatening independent thinkers with plagues and pestilence, bringing them to their knees to become my vassals would not be my first option. That would be like a shotgun wedding.
People should want to worship, not be made to worship. That kind of demand for slavish submission and rule by terror is the indisputable domain of North Korea’s diminutive dictator (we already know what they say about vertically-challenged men), and also claimed by religious extremist leaders and other Mideast potentates.
God wasn’t even this bossy or fearsome back in the day He backed off and let His only Begotten succeed Him in the business. Back then, the message was kinder, gentler and more politically correct, save for, of course, the Pauline preference for women to keep their silence, and the continued endorsement of slavery. But Jesus never threatened or spoke harshly to anyone except to the men of God in His day. A generation of vipers and like whitened sepulchres, He called them. Not even the occupying forces of Rome could raise His ire; He even recognized the right of Caesar to collect taxes. His kingdom was not of this world, he declared. Even His hellfire and brimstone sermons were parabolic, designed for the understanding of those His father beckoned to Himself. Whoever will, let him come.
Not so with these denizens of the portals of heaven and eternity. No one seems to be spared their dark divinings. Apparently God has shared with them His desire to enter into covenant with the entire nation, a kind of ressurected old testament Israel, so to speak. These prophets claim God wants no less than national repentance, fasting and prayer before He’ll ease up on our torment and misery. And as the prophecies keep rolling out, God seems not only to be interested in Jamaica; He has world domination on His mind, as leaders of nations worldwide are on His hit-list! Indeed, it seems like the Almighty has gone back on His word that the new Chosen and royal priesthood would be culled or called out from many nations.
It might be just a fluke, but the death-to-the-infidel approach sounds suspiciously like Islamic extremist strategy. And what does God mean when he threatens to “move upon [the unbelievers] heavily”? If it is death, isn’t that a natural part of our existence?
The current manual is probably out of date and there is need for a new canon. But isn’t there somewhere in the book of Hebrews a claim that in the former day God spoke through the prophets, but in the latter days through His Son? So whence cometh these latter-day prophets with divine declarations for Jamaica and at large? Perhaps they need to check the manual; their pronouncements may be intended for the Church after all.
Curiously though, this year there was no disclaimer, no caveat emptor following the utterances to protect either the prophets or the Almighty should the predictions fizzle. But there may just be already enough global turbulence, economic and financial, to give the prognosticators a passing grade, seeing that there is no one without sin, qualified to cast the first stone.