5 Prophecy Mistakes To Avoid

5 Prophecy Approaches to Avoid Even When Prophecy Is Too Hard

In response to many questions over the years I decided to write an article rounding up the top futile approaches to knowing the future which have sucked us all in.

For example many resort to Bible codes, Christian “words” (of knowledge), self-proclaimed “prophets”, (Youtube) prophecy videos, popular prophecy speculation books (like 4 blood moons, Shemitah, etc.), or conspiracy news outlets in the hopes of shedding light on Bible prophecy.

Yet, rather than giving solid answers as reading prophecy literally does, these approaches only deliver confusion, anxiety and fear to people.

If you can relate to this, read the article.


Efrain Rodriguez – Asteroid Prophecy 2014?

You are probably arriving here because you heard of Efrain Rodriguez’s prophecy of an asteroid striking Puerto Rico and causing a tsunami to strike America by the end of 2014. Is he right that this can happen before the rapture and tribulation and can it happen before 2014 ends?

See my review here: http://www.escapeallthesethings.com/efrain-rodriguez-prophecy.htm

Scott Clarke Prophecy Video Theories Debunked

The Prophecy Video Trend

I always enjoy answering emails from readers asking for help discerning prophecy theories. In the last couple of years I’ve been getting more and more requests from readers to take a look at a prophecy teaching on Youtube for them. In the past these videos were almost always the amateurish kind with text flowing on the screen slowly with distracting music. When you combine a shaky typical date-setting premise from the title with a tortuous deliver like that, I found them unbearable to watch.

Lately when I click the link, it turns out out to be a video on the eternalrhythmflow Youtube channel by the prolific pretribber Scottie Clarke. Thankfully, he does not torture you with text. Instead, he narrates various images and charts such as from an astronomy program. Yet, as a pretribber his main focus is continually looking for signs of the rapture or Jesus’ return (seven years later according to pretrib thinking). As these never pan out, he has a reason to keep producing videos with new theories.

Here’s the latest email I’ve received on one of this videos:

I was wondering if you thought about the findings of  Scott Clarke related to his Rev 12 ‘virgin birth’ event that perfectly correspond to astronomical alignments in 2017? Please view his video detailing this at http://youtu.be/v5dyEnZFu0w “A 2017 Virgin Birth In SPACE?!”

Please view it with an open mind (ie ignore his conviction about what this “sign in the heavens” means for the rapture event). Rather, I’m curious what your thought is on how this very rare sign could mean to the sequence of events as detailed in your book? Like, what do you think the virgin birth event sign in the sky in Sept 2017 means? Could it simply say that 2023 is the right timing for our Lords return (and not 2030)? Are there any ‘events’ in your timeline around the 2017 or 2018 time period that could corrsepond to this ‘virgin birth’ sign in the heaven?

Tim,…I’m hoping you recognize how rare this “birth” sign is (ie the gestation period of Jupiter is 41 weeks, the 12 stars crowning her head is rare, etc). The Lord provided this sign to indicate something – if it is not what Mr Clarke suggests, then what could it be?

The Flawed Assumptions

As you can see from the underlined text in the email above, the underlying assumption of this video  is that heavenly signs such as eclipses and conjunctions are something we should be poring over. The more unique and rare these events are, the more significant they are supposed to be, to the point that it is assumed that it must be God’s doing in order to tell us something. Not surprisingly, Scott Clarke is a fan of the four blood moons theory and includes it in the above video. (I debunked that speculation when Mark Biltz came out with it and when John Hagee issued his version of it.)

The problem with these assumptions is that they rely upon taking verses out of context and building doctrines on them. Clarke, like Mark Biltz and John Hagee, uses Genesis 1:14 as his license to look for signs in the sky. But that verse does not say to look in the heavens for signs of the end times. In context it is talking about signs for seasons/festivals, days and years (Gen 1:14 HCSB). In other words, the regular events we set our calendar by.

They also use Joel 2:31 since it mentions a blood moon in the end times. But it also talks about a solar eclipse at the same time. And if you back up a verse, there is more happening than that. Wonders in the heaven and on the earth at the time of that blood moon / solar eclipse (Joel 2:30). This is parallel to the 6th seal (Rev 6:12-19) which gives even more events like a great global earthquake and shooting stars. It all points to a new cosmic object like a comet in close proximity to earth which explains the four trumpet impact disasters that immediately follow in sequence (Rev 8:1-13). Joel does not direct us to look for normal solar and lunar eclipses on the NASA table as a sign of the rapture or anything. It directs us to expect something new in the heavens interfering catastrophically with our very planet and all life on it.

Jesus Already Said What To Look For (!)

What people are missing who try to read prophecy into these naturally-occurring heavenly events is that Jesus already explained what the end time signs were exactly. He said nothing about singular eclipses, or four eclipses, or conjunctions of heavenly bodies.

In the Olivet Discourse and Revelation he described a few events that he called collectively the “beginning of sorrows.” They are unmistakeable events that have not happened, unlike eclipses and conjunctions that happen on a regular basis. In the Parable of the Fig Tree. Jesus said these are the signs of his coming. He also said that until you see these events, his coming is not near (Mt 24:6). To understand what these “beginning of sorrows” are and what causes them, it’s important to understand Wormwood.

What About The Virgin Sign?

Regarding the heavenly sign of the Woman in Revelation 12, it had to do with Jesus (the manchild’s) birth 2000 years ago. It has nothing to do with the end times. You can tell this because this sign happens before the manchild is taken up to heaven, referring to Jesus’ ascension. Likewise it happens before the dragon (Satan) chases the Woman who God helps for 3.5 times, speaking of Satan’s wrath in the Great Tribulation.

In fact, this “Virgin sign” is not even unique. The heavenly arrangement depicted by Rev 12:1 including the crescent moon, the sun, the woman (constellation Virgo) and the twelve star crown (“Berenice’s hair“) happen in the sky on a repeating basis. 2017 is not the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last. As this article explains, it appeared in the sky when Jesus was born, allowing us to pinpoint the exact time of his birth on the Day of Trumpets (not Tabernacles as many Messianics believe).

Unique Signs Sent By God?

However, even if a sign is unique, that does not make it sent by God or is a divine communication. Even unique conjunctions in the heavens are still just the result of the natural movements of the heavenly bodies. There are all manner of unique signs that have happened throughout history. Uniqueness does not make any of them signs from God, even if we can find parts of them described in the Bible in another context.

In the Bible, when a sign is meant to communicate something from God, it is announced by a prophet beforehand. He also gives the meaning at that time, rather than force you to speculate what it means after the fact. This article explains that in the context of another “unique” phenomenon: major natural disasters which prophecy buffs never fail to seize upon and pronounce to be prophetic after they happen.

Finally, when someone shares a discovery of a unique combination of events like this we have to remember the problem of confirmation bias. We all tend to see patterns or significance in disparate events that simply is not there. Our bias of ignoring information and aspects of these patterns that do not match our theory deceives us. When we hear someone else’s “the only way to explain this pattern is God!” theory, it’s hard to see all the things they left out that do not line up with their theory.

But we don’t have to. If we just remember that creating unique events in the heavens or on earth is not how the Bible shows God communicating with humanity, then we can safely ignore all speculation based on such things. The Bible already has specified how God talks to us: through certified, sign-working prophets like Moses and Jesus. What’s more, these prophets have already spoken on what the key events of the end times are. If you want to understand where we are in prophecy and if anything is near, learn and focus on those events, not the latest dazzling speculation on Youtube or anywhere else.


Michael Rood Comes for an Unexpected Visit

Yesterday I posted to my Facebook that Michael Rood was coming to visit me at my home. I did so to give friends a chance to post questions they would like me to ask Michael. In response I had quite a few questions, some of which I was able to ask and will cover in this article.

My History With Michael Rood

I’ve known Michael Rood for ten years, almost as long as I have been living in Costa Rica. He came to Costa Rica in the Spring of 2000 and it was posted on his website (the old 6001.com). This was when he was on the Prophecy Club hosted by Stan Johnson and promoting his groundbreaking Spring and Fall Feasts of the LORD video tapes.

A bunch of us went to the hotel advertised for where he would have a get together and he never showed up. Not a great start to a great relationship. We missed him that time but we soon hooked up and invited him to stay at our home as he explored TV opportunities in Costa Rica.  He visited a few times in 2000 and 2001 and even wrote some of the original A Rood Awakening TV script at our home.

In 2002, when he announced his first tour of Israel, we considered it. Katrina and I had never been to Israel and to go with someone who would take you to Gomorrah where you could mine your own brimstone was hard to resist. We put down the deposit and my employer promptly cut my hours and then laid me off completely. I was short $5000 for the trip and had no way of paying it. Yet Michael and his then partner Jamie decided to let us go anyway and pay the balance when we could afterward.

Needless to say, we had a blast for eleven days touring Israel with them. I met Nehemia Gordon and made some discoveries as a result of the tour that later ended up in my book (such as the Elijah insight).

After that we did not see too much of Michael as he was filming A Rood Awakening in Israel. He only came back to Costa Rica for a few short trips, never staying with us like in the early years. He now stays with a couple who have a car and plenty of room. (We did not and still do not own a car because of the higher expense to own and maintain a car in Costa Rica.)

In fact, this visit from him is the first one since his ministry problems a few years back.

Withholding Judgment

Not surprisingly a few Facebook friends had negative comments about Michael Rood to share. One expressed surprise at me having anything to do with him. Do I follow him or believe the way he did? This person elaborated:

I put Michael Rood in a whole different category. While not being judgmental I feel it is important before you believe, follow ones teachings, or just read and study their materials you need to research this person. Their are many false prophets and teachers out there. I have serious reservations about Michael Rood.

I completely understand these sentiments and do not judge the person for feeling uncomfortable with Michael. I used to have similar ones for teachers, even including Michael himself when some of the events of recent years came out and hurt even my own friends and associates.

However, in recent years I have gained some perspective that helps me to embrace Michael for his good and the good he does and let go of the bad. We have had people live with us a lot in 2008 and 2009. If you have ever tried living with people for an extended period, you quickly have problems come up. Oftentimes you are the cause of the problem. If you are aware and teachable, you have to face the fact that you are not perfect and you do things that at best are less than effective and at worst annoying, insensitive or offensive to others.

From this, I see that I am really not much different than Michael or anyone else. We all are a mixed bag. We all have limited experience that leaves blind spots in our awareness leading us to make choices that hurt others. Yet nearly all the time, we are well-intentioned and feel justified in what we do. I have not asked Michael, but I have no doubt he felt justified in what he has done that has hurt others and feels justified in what he does and says today.

This is summed up in a quote I have heard from him a few times over the decade I have known him. He likes to say with a smile, “You know, I do not teach anything that I believe to be false….Think about that a minute.” In other words, people can accuse him of being a false prophet or leading people astray but in reality he is only teaching what he is sincerely convicted of from his personal diligent study. I can relate to that as I do the same thing. Yet every time I send out a newsletter, I get unsubscribe notifications with comments accusing me of purposely misleading people. People do not have the experience needed to realize that yes people can come to different conclusions on the Bible than they have and yet be good sincere diligent truth seekers like themselves. The Bible is just that way (on purpose, as I cover in my book).

So because of this perspective, I accept Michael Rood for Michael Rood. I do not agree with everything he teaches nor everything he does. To quote another face book friend, Jason Vick of www.JewsAndJoes.com, who expressed it well:: “I think most everyone puts Rood in a different category. Personally, I like him… even though I don’t agree with everything he teaches… nor everything he has done in his past.”

By the same token, I do not censor him completely just because he has said or done things I disagree with.

And, by the way, some might be happy or surprised to know that Michael Rood has been reaching out to reconcile with the people he has had his public controversy with. He has apologized to a friend of mine and now they are going to work together again in the future on A Rood Awakening, a definitely mutually beneficial reconciliation and relationship.

I hope my comments can help some of you to withhold judgment on our brothers just as Jesus/Yeshua said. We do not know what is in their heart and usually we do not know all the facts, or even both sides of the story. Someone like Michael Rood who goes out every day trying to wake people up from their religious trance cannot be all bad. He is still learning and always has a much to share that I find worth listening to, ten years later.

Now on to the questions and answers promised.

Questions and Answers to Michael Rood

Here are the questions I asked Michael Rood:

  • Q. Is The 2010-2017 Timeline Still Viable?
    A. His answer was that he has not ruled it out yet, however he reminded me that there is something yet missing for it to happen: global economic collapse. See, just as I teach, he does not see the attack on Israel that results in Damascus getting nuked being able to happen the way things are today. He believes that America has to be neutralized from being able to help Israel, leaving her isolated. Seeing this, the Arabs would have an opening to attack and fulfill Zechariah 12, Isaiah 34, and other parallel prophecies.
  • Q. Is Damascus’ Destruction Expected This Fall?
    A. I did not get to ask him this directly, but what he said was “Damascus could be nuked as early as nine months from now”. He is referring to a fulfillment in the Hebrew month of Tishrei, 2010, which is the month the 70th Week of Daniel begins (and ends, seven years later). This is what he calls the Confirmation of the Covenant. He has been waiting for this event to kick off the final seven years for as long as I have known him. Thus, the answer is that Damascus’ doom is not “expected” as much as it is “possible”. I presume he would expect it only if a global economic collapse happened this spring or summer.

Michael Rood’s Wheelchair Debility…and Recovery

Some of you may have seen that in recently years Michael Rood has been sick and even in a wheel chair. That is all we knew ourselves due to our lack of contact. Yesterday we finally heard the skinny on his illness.

It started with his trip to Rwanda. After coming back he started to have problems with pain in one leg. He had to pile on ice to keep the pain down in his hotel room. Next he had to be in a wheel chair. He was meeting people later with the same symptoms that was labeled as “Gulf War Syndrome.” The problem was that none of them including Michael had been in the Gulf War!

Then he kept seeing families with autistic children who last time he saw them the kids were fine. In each case, the children went bad right after vaccinations. Then Michael remembered that he himself had just had vaccinations for a recent trip to Rwanda that preceded his whole health decline.

Long story short, he found an amazing doctor (with a great story of his own) who specialized in conditions like Michael’s. He put him on a special detox program at the beach of (disgusting tasting) green vegetable juices for chelation, steam baths for sweating out toxins and other things I cannot recall. Over a long period of weeks and months he gradually got better. Today he is almost fully recovered. He expressed the intent to go back and detox more to finish his recovery. (I will try to get more details on this detox program because I know it is of interest to many.)

It will not surprise readers that he does not approve of the swine flu/h1n1 vaccination. He related stories he had heard of pregnant women having dead babies taken out of them after receiving the h1n1 vaccine.


Needless to say, Katrina and I enjoyed our visit. We honestly did not expect him to ask to see us this time with how busy his schedule usually is. That felt very nice. He shared some great insights as you can see. I look forward to seeing Michael again and helping each other in our passion for teaching the truth (as we understand it) to truth seekers like you my readers.

Mark of the Beast: Literal or Sunday Worship?

Why People Fail to Understand Revelation (or the Bible)

When I was younger, I struggled to understand the Book of Revelation. It was so fascinating that I longed to crack its sealed language. But I could not, and nobody could help me.

Today, I do understand it much, much better and now know why I failed to understand before. I had not learned back then that most of the Bible is more literal than we ever imagined. To read literal passages allegorically will lead you to wrong conclusions every time.

But it gets worse. These wrong conclusions will cloud your understanding of still other passages, kind of like a spreading infection. The false views you hold constantly contradict any true interpretations you think of or come across. Because you view truths as wrong, you reject or disregard them. As a result, you are unable to truly understand any of the deeper teachings or mysteries of the Bible properly. This includes the mysterious Book of Revelation.

The Mark of Beast and the Mark of Torah

Revelation’s Mark of the Beast is a good and instructive example in this regard.

Revelation 13:16-17 (HCSB) 16 And he requires everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name.

This seems straightforward. A mark consisting of a name or number on either your forehead or right hand. The mark will serve kind of like a credit card does today. Without it you cannot buy or sell everything you want. For example, you cannot rent a car or good hotel room without a credit card.

However, how does your view of Revelation 13’s mark change when you incorporate these verses:

Exodus 13:9 (HCSB) Let it serve as a sign for you on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead, so that the Lord’s instruction may be in your mouth; for the Lord brought you out of Egypt with a strong hand.

Deuteronomy 6:8 (HCSB) Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.

It is because of these commands that Orthodox Jews put phylacteries or little Torah scroll boxes and straps on their forehead and hands. That’s a literal interpretation. Yet, most instead see this verse as an injunction by God to make his instructions tied to your thought and your actions always.

Mark of the Beast: Spiritual Mark?

Don’t these verses sound similar to Revelation? They associate God’s commands with the forehead and hand. This can cause you to question your literal view of Revelation’s mark. Perhaps it is not a literal mark, but it is a spiritual mark. Perhaps the mark really represents obeying the commands of the Beast in place of God’s commands?

At least that’s what the Seventh Day Adventist church teaches. They consider the mark of the beast to be symbolic. The symbolic meaning to them is a law to keep Sunday, or “Sunday Law”. Of course, they are the biggest Christian group that believes we are required to keep a Saturday Sabbath. They believe keeping Sunday instead of Sabbath is a  serious sin before God.

The SDA interpretation looks reasonable especially with its “let the Bible interpret the Bible” methodology. Yet we will see that it is no accident they spiritualize the mark as they do. Their Sabbath view helps them to gloss over some important differences between the marks of Revelation and Exodus.

Mark of the Beast: Literal Mark

Here’s the main problem with equating Exodus 13:9 with Revelation 13:16. Exodus is taking an abstract thing (God’s instructions) and asking them to be “frontlets,” a “sign” or a “memorial” between the eyes and the hand. The most reasonable way to view this is figuratively as a command to always think and do according to God’s instructions. It is not practical or useful to fit a tiny Torah scroll on those body parts and go around with them in the way all the time.

Revelation, on the other hand, is taking a physical thing (a mark on the skin) and specifying where it can be located on the body. Indeed, all incidences of “mark” in the contexts of Revelation treat it as a physical and visible thing that you receive from the False Prophet. Visibility is required for the mark to work in commerce. One cannot look at you and tell if you kept Sunday when deciding whether to sell you food.

Notice also that Exodus 13:9 does not says “right” hand. Exodus does not specify which hand because it would be odd to do this when either hand is associated with work or action.

Further, in Revelation the mark is always a “mark” on the skin. It is not sometimes a sign, a frontlet, or a “mark” like God’s commandments are characterized by the Torah itself. Revelation 13 even specifies the mark as the name or number of the beast. Names and numbers are commonly written down. They would even fit on a person’s forehead or skin. The definition of the mark as the name or number of the Beast hurts the SDA view. This plain explanation of the mark contradicts assigning any other explanation to it. Their case would be better if the mark was left ambiguous by Revelation. But it is not.

Thus, when we allegorize the mark as “deciding to rest on Sunday instead of Saturday,” we are choosing to ignore the most natural and reasonable interpretation of the mark of the beast. The mark is defined as a mark on the skin consisting of the name or number of the beast.

So why choose to allegorize a text that makes perfect sense naturally as written? There must be some other benefit to choosing a less-defensible interpretation. For SDA’s this “Sunday mark” theory supports their Sabbath day doctrine. It puts additional importance and fear behind their teaching that we must and should keep Sabbath. I can imagine them thinking that by keeping Sabbath today, they are antichrist-proofing themselves later.


Only a Sabbath-keeping religion would come up with the idea that the mark of the beast will be “keeping Sunday instead of Saturday.” This interpretation presupposes that Sabbath is required by God and by not keeping it you are sinning before God. However, the Sabbath was part of the Old Covenant made with the nation of Ancient Israel. SDAs rip this single command out of its original national context and transplant it upon believers today scattered outside the land of the Torah. Ignoring the context of a verse is not the way to to get to “the truth no matter what it says”, as our goal should be.

This goes back to my original point. When you have even one wrong doctrine (e.g. “Sabbath is required”), it will lead you to reject the true meanings of other verses (e.g. the mark is the name or number of the beast) and create even more wrong doctrines (e.g. “the mark is keeping Sunday”). And all of these errors are based on not accepting the Bible for what it plainly says (e.g. the Torah is for the nation of Israel in the land of Israel, not for Gentiles today – Acts 15).

In covering this example, I have not meant to pick on the SDAs. Other groups come up with other meanings that break the literalness of the mark of the beast, too. Indeed, we all fall into allegorizing verses that were meant literally. Hopefully, the next time you catch yourself thinking a verse does not mean what it plainly says you will stop and ask yourself two questions.

  1. What doctrine do I hold that is causing me to think this verse is not literal?
  2. Have I proven through diligent study that that doctrine itself is really correct?

See also: Can you Take the Mark of the Beast Today?

See also: What is the Seal of the 144,000?

Are We The “Last Generation”?

A member on my private forum asked this Question:

Hey Tim I got one more question. We are 100% sure we are in the last generation right? If this is true then do you have any idea how long a generation actually is? It seems like no one has a clear cut answer. Ive heard 40, 50, 70, but no one really knows.

Answer: Actually there is no “last generation” described in Scripture. That concept came from a popular misapplication of the Parable of the Fig Tree (Mt 24:32-35).  This view posits that the thing to watch is the fig tree (Israel) putting forth leaves (take Jerusalem) and that “this generation shall not pass until all is fulfilled” refers to the people alive when the fig tree does this still being alive when Jesus returns.

If this were true, then again we’d have a calculation for the absolute single time of Jesus’ return far in advance which contradicts what he expressly said about the impossibility of no man knowing the time (“day or hour”) of his return (Mt 24:36). This is the reason all such calculations have failed throughout history: Jesus said they never will work since even he the Son of God (and the entire Word of God) does not know. The Bible is just a subset of the Word of God and so we can never use it to figure out Jesus’ return (further in advance than 1290 days from the Abomination of Desolation probably).

In truth, the Parable of the Fig Tree does not refer to Israel at all. It tells us to watch for “all these things” that the Olivet Discourse listed as the precursors to his return. Just as seeing leaves on any tree (not just a fig tree—Lk 21:29) tells you summer is nigh, so do all these events happening tell you Jesus’ return is near.

Read Mt 24 to see what all those things listed are. Ironically, none of them match Jerusalem getting return to Israel and instead one of them is Jerusalem taken from Israel by the Antichrist (Lk 21:20)!

Now that you know it won’t help you figure out the Second Coming’s timing, do you still want to know the length of a biblical generation? It’s established at 40 years from more than one precedent (Heb 3:9-10; Ps 95:10). Sign up for my free newsletter for a series on the Seven Prophecy Pitfalls that discusses this in more detail.