Today it is no different. We still have Flurry, Thiel, Meredith, Pack, Kubik and many others still spouting end of the world scenarios. Prophecy addiction, in spite of its 100% failure rate in Armstrongism, is still the main game for these "men." They lie through their teeth and members worship at their feet. Eighty years of epic prophecy failures still have not tarnished the beliefs of those who cannot ever dream of thinking of themselves. They need to be told what to think and believe. A book that barely made it into the canon is 100% true. So let it be said, so let it be done!
Everywhere we turn today it seems we are beset by self-proclaimed "prophets" trying to make a profit by predicting the future for us. We can read our daily horoscope in the local newspaper, consult a palm reader in our area, read what the ten leading psychics predict will befall Liz Taylor, or tune in to radio evangelists proclaiming what the Bible foretells for the future. Most of these prognosticators do well to have a prophetic batting average as high as .200. Looked at another way, these seers are wrong more than 80% of the time! It's no wonder these "prophets" fare so poorly, according to Roderick Meredith, for only one organization on earth today is being used by God and only that one fully understands prophecy:
"The popular, denominationally supported evangelists often make statements like this: 'I believe that God may use Russia to punish America for her sins.' Or, 'It now seems likely that World War III may come within five years.'... They use the words 'may,' 'could,' or 'might.'... The truth of the matter is that they dare not be specific about the future because they just do not know what the Bible says is going to happen! But on 'The World Tomorrow' broadcast and in this magazine we have dared to unlock the Bible prophecies and apply them to specific nations and events that are now being affected.
---------------The leading WCG ministers attempt to rationalize their ridiculous prophecies with half-thought-out quips like "a few wrong predictions never hurt anybody" or "we were just trying to fulfill our commission in Matthew 24:14 to preach a witness to the world." (Evidently many have never realized Matthew 24:14 is a prophecy, not a commission to the church.) Speaking in a ministerial conference in January 1974, Ted Armstrong was also at first reluctant to admit that the church's false predictions had caused serious problems for anybody:
"[We prophesied in] fifteen years the U.S.A. will no longer be a nation, and 15 years has come and gone. Was that a mistake or not" ? Yes! But why get violently emotional about it? We were utterly sincere at the time it was said! We all believed it, and furthermore that kind of copy never caused anybody to lose out on salvation, or drop out of church, or make a wrong move in their personal lives, or to throw the word of God to the ground...."
Only moments later Ted all but contradicted himself by offering justifiable reasons for a person to "get violently emotional" about a prophecy that failed. He began to name a few of the "wrong moves" that had been made in personal lives:
"But '72 was the date that, you know, everything hinged on that. Nobody saved any money, nobody bought any property, nobody thought about laying up for his children's children.... We [thought we] were all going to flee or be taken away to a place of safety and everything would be left behind so [we thought]: "Why put any roots down?"
So even Ted begrudgingly admits false prophecies do cause harm in people's lives. Some WCG members, believing the "end of the world" was coming between 1972 and 1975-as the church had prophesied so often-postponed needed dental work. Others decided not to buy homes, while still others sold theirs and gave a portion of the cash they received to the church. Some young people decided not to go to college but took jobs instead to earn money for the church, hoping to thereby help Herbert fulfill the prophecy found in Matthew 24:14. Many gave their savings to the church and even borrowed money in response to Herbert's pleas to help his church avert another financial crisis-especially after being told Christ was coming soon and their money would be worthless then. Now some of these people are almost penniless, but the church says, "I never knew you."
To God, prophesying falsely is not a light matter. The Bible carries dozens of warnings from God for Christians to watch out for false prophets who "through covetousness" with "feigned words" shall "make merchandise" of them (II Peter 2:3, KJV). (The RSV renders it: "In their greed they will exploit you with false words.")
How could one recognize a false prophet? "You will know them by their fruits," Christ answers (Matt. 7:16, RSV). Continuing the analogy Christ explains, "A good tree is incapable of producing bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit" (Phillips translation). What do you think Christ would say about the WCG's false prophecies in view of Matthew 7? To those WCG ministers who remain unrepentant he will declare: "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7: 23, KJV). The Prophecy Game