Introduction to the Prophecy Wars Series
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” —Jesus Christ (John 16:13).
“What is truth?”—Pontius Pilate (John 18:38).
“And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:9-10).
As a Christian, I cannot read or write the passages from John 18 and Revelation 19 above without a thrill of joy or tears of gratitude.
Yet between them, I put Pontius Pilate’s famous—and tragically ignorant—question emanating from the classical Roman relativism of his day. Perhaps he came to grasp Truth while he still had breath. I hope so.
The question “What is truth?” and its premise—”truth cannot be known”—reveals the fundamental logic behind what I call in this four-part series of essays the “Prophecy Wars.”
What I plan to do in this series is:
- Describe the nature of the Adversary’s warfare against prophetic truth across the ages;
- Articulate a 5-stage battle tactic first described in Genesis 3;
- Apply that tactic to warfare, specifically against the Scriptural doctrine of the pretribulational rapture, and
- Finish with some personal observations from “inside the battle” that I hope provide some clarity.
None of these objectives are easily attainable, especially in a short-essay format, but I am giving them a prayerful attempt. There is much, much more that has already been written and taught by better minds than mine, and much more to be said. However, I hope to articulate some strategic and tactical insights and suggestions for Christians as we rapidly approach the terminus of the Age of Grace. Knowing how the Age of Grace ends is critical to finishing our race well.
The War Against Prophetic Truth Across the Ages
There has never been a time when God’s prophetic declarations were not under Satanic attack. “Spiritual warfare,” generally speaking, focuses strategically on what humanity believes. The great passages so central to the Good News of Christ, including “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38) and many others all center on the transformational act of believing the Word of Christ and the journey of progressively-refined faith in Him that is more valuable than gold (1 Pet. 1:7).
Belief and faith require an object—the Person of Christ—Who is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). And the war is really all about that.
Interestingly, the seven passages I cite here are not just declarative. They are also prophetic in the sense that they describe a program of redemption that would extend not just through the entire Church Age but also right through Daniel’s 70th Week and the Millennium to follow. These prophetic truths not only lay out God’s New Testament redemptive arc concerning all who would believe as a group; they are also promises to individuals who, one by one, come to believe the testimony of Christ and thereby become beneficiaries of and participants in the promises of God in Christ (2 Cor. 1:20). In both aspects—group and individual—the fundamental battle is influencing what people believe.
There is a give-and-take in God’s attempts to reach humanity. He invites Israel to “Come, let us reason together”  (Isaiah 1:18). God meets us where we are but calls us to walk onward (and upward) with Him. Paul similarly “reasoned” with the Jews in numerous instances (Acts 17:2, 17: 18:4, 19; 19:8-9; 20:7, 9; 24:12, 25). He also engaged Gentiles intellectually (Acts 17:16-32; 18:4; 19:9-10, etc.). This was debate; dissent was listened to and often handled in relatively serious and intellectually honest ways. When minds were closed and threatened, persecution broke out against Paul—driven by outrage, fueled by panic, energized by demonic opposition. The Good News of Christ crucified and resurrected was offensive to Jews and foolishness to Greeks (1 Cor. 1:23).
This sometimes honest appeal to intellectual integrity in pursuit of eternal truth and redemption throughout the ages has been under continuous assault. Satan may not be able to keep God from meeting and challenging humanity, but he has certainly tried to alter the terms of engagement. As the centuries and millennia have passed, he has attempted to control this warfare by working to shape the battlefield itself.
Moreover, while the Adversary has never been able to stop God from uttering His prophetic Word or the testimony of Jesus from being lived out, adhered to, and shared, he has enjoyed remarkable success at provoking humanity to question the existence of the God Who prophesies and promises, as well as to question whether there is any truth at all. Beyond this strategy are the tactics of distortion and opposition, but these are not quite as powerful, though they have been used frequently.
Perhaps the best way to understand how this warfare has unfolded is to briefly examine the concept of “dialectic” and its evolution from the days of classical Greece until now.
“Dialectic” as a concept has evolved over the millennia from formal, logical reasoning in Greek Stoicism (e.g., Plato’s Dialogues, especially featuring Socrates. Cicero of Rome also wrote all of his philosophical works in dialogue form) through Erasmus of Rotterdam in the Middle Ages. Socrates, Plato, and their intellectual heirs saw truth as something that emerges after an intellectually honest argument between opposing sides. In addition, the Jewish mind has valued a good argument for millennia. Of course, conflicts of interest, fear, love of power, and a host of other soul-sicknesses led to intellectual dead ends such as Pontius Pilate’s “What is truth?”
Immanuel Kant (Critique of Pure Reason, 1781) employed a “transcendental dialectic” to argue that nonphysical principles could not be understood in physical terms. This was an important departure point: How can one pragmatically talk about the unseen God? Kant’s conclusion was that the existence of God cannot be proven or even taken as an a priori assumption, let alone truth. For Kant, God was merely an idea; everything was ideas, existing only in the mind. Scripture very clearly disagrees.
I don’t mean to assert that humanity’s departure from knowable truth began with Kant—it really began with Adam—but his ideas were an important waypoint some seventeen centuries after Pilate’s fateful brush with the Truth and the Life. Kant ended up being a signatory philosopher in support of the French Revolution, justifying its violent excesses; he considered it the crowning achievement of his life.
The historical idealist Georg Wilhelm Hegel then recast his mentor Kant’s “dialectic” as negating any given idea and using the resulting contradiction to “transcend” to a higher, more pragmatic realization. The State was supreme for Hegel: Any value or identity held by humanity came from the State as it represented the collective will of the populace. In addition, Hegel rejected transcendent, universal truths. Citing revolution as the only way to improve the human condition, Hegel is regarded by many as an important figure in the development of progressivism.
Hegel’s protégé Karl Marx and fellow traveler Friedrich Engels both applied Hegel’s dialectic to social and economic problems, using Hegelian dialectic as the fundamental logic for a perpetual Communist revolution. While historical idealists such as Hegel emphasized the centrality of social constructs such as the State, historical materialists (Marx and Engels) rejected all such constructs, including language and culture, as superficial and unimportant (i.e., the “superstructure” in their words). The only substantive objects of analysis were “means of economic production” such as feudal, mercantile, industrial—and all of those “structural” realities were to be viewed and transformed only through the lens of class struggle on the grand road to equality through collectivist revolution.
Important to this review as well is Engels’ and Marx’ worship of Darwinism as the master trope of all knowledge: The material world evolved over time on its own, without external (i.e., supernatural) influences. Ironically, Darwin’s deeply-held racism profoundly influenced Marx’ and Engels’ writings. Communist agitation focusing on race in the postmodern age would have offended Marx and Engels, not to mention Darwin, but the postmodern revolution holds no fealty to the sensitivities of its 19th-century architects. Any inconsistency is allowed as long as the Revolution advances.
While Kant laid the groundwork for the formal negation of spiritual “truth” by arguing that the nonphysical cannot be truly known, Hegel, Marx, and Engels unabashedly rejected “truth,” accepting it only for its usefulness in the “truth<—>antitruth” contradiction in service of moving beyond the need for truth—in service of a war against Christianity. I note all of this to illustrate the insidious devolution of discourse on truth.
The ancient Greeks were noted for their propensity to debate and gave place to dissent. But in more recent times, Europeans and Western Civilization, in general, have ended up marginalizing and then criminalizing debate and dissent altogether, rendering “truth” meaningless and, therefore, unnecessary. Popular culture in the West has driven civil debate and reasoning, so foundational to a vibrant society and the cause of Christ, to the margins. Reasonable discourse on the truths of God’s Word—or any “truth”—is an endangered species. In effect, God isn’t allowed to invite us to “reason together.” God is altogether excluded.
In this way, Satan’s centuries-long drive to criminalize dissent undid the classical virtues of the Greek and Roman civilizations. The same war brought down the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment (which putatively resurrected classical civic and philosophical advances lost during the Dark Ages), and English libertarianism, and a new technocratic Inquisition now threatens to enslave billions to the tyranny of a postmodern global gulag. The stage is now set for “the lie” to replace “the truth” (2 Thess. 2:10-12) and for a battered, darkened world to receive the “man of sin” as a false messiah.
I have focused my review of the war against prophetic truth on post-Enlightenment figures Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Engels. A more realistic and comprehensive description of the order of battle would include many hundreds of names, for the work of philosophers, theologians, and scientists reflect the social milieu in which they live. But the individuals named here stand out like whitecaps on a sea of waves; they can serve as indicators of currents and winds.
And, as James so prophetically wrote regarding those seeking wisdom, anyone not submitting to God in faith “is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (1:6). How wonderful God’s promise is: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering” (1:5-6).
That is the only way God’s truth can really be known. The alternative is a wisdom that “descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish,” and it engenders only bitter envy and strife, confusion, and “every evil work” (James 3:14-16). Faith in the promises of God is the only road worth traveling.
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:13-18).
Dr. Jeffrey Ady is a retired university professor of Communications and Public Administration, a published author, and served as an ordained minister for 20 years.
 Heb. yāḵaḥ, “argue together” in the Isaiah 1:18 rendering describes an actual dispute, debate, argument, with the end-state being repentance, redemption and salvation.
 Gk. dialegomai, “debate, discuss, dispute”—literally, to speak opposing viewpoints in order to arrive at what is true.
 Dr. Jerry Bergman (2021) offers an excellent synopsis of Marx’ and Engels’ reliance on Darwinian evolution as a basis for their collectivist vision: Answers Research Journal 14 (2021): 463–472. www.answersresearchjournal.org/arj/v14/engels_darwin_marx.pdf; accessed Feb. 18, 2023.