I recently read a very interesting article by Brad Macdonald in the Trumpet Weekly (dated Oct. 7, 2010). Good old BradMac was touting the virtues and wonders of HWA’s revelatory abilities. He gushes about how Mr. Armstrong prophesied that “the American dollar would one day be in ‘jeopardy of being devalued‘” and this would “ultimately lead to ‘eventual economic collapse for the United States’” (obviously, emphasis theirs throughout). He goes on to laud Herbert’s faith in Bible prophecy being so strong that as early as the 1960s (1968, to be exact) he said WW III was already underway…but just the early part which would eventually wreck the US economy.
“Forty-two years later, the trade war that will end in the collapse of America and Britain is here.”
He goes on to bring in some quotes from Brazil’s finance minister, the head of the IMF, and others that say “we are in an economic war.” But the point is as follows: It’s forty-two years later! I don’t know the source of the quotes from Mr. Armstrong (whether a sermon, PT, or other publication), but I would be willing to engage in a little “insider trading” and bet that Armstrong said all this would happen within the next “seven to ten years” or within the next “15 to 20 years” at most.
This is masterful writing. They’re turning a failure in prophecy into a tremendous prophetic feat: he didn’t just prophecy this would happen within a short time (which anyone with a good head on their shoulders and some info at their fingers could do), but he saw it coming forty years ahead! Through omitting the “seven to ten years” bit (which, again, I would bet is there—familiar as I am with HWA’s writings) and failing to provide source material (thus denying us the ability to read the context and notice the prophetic failure), they are making him into a God-inspired visionary.
Of course, based on the fragmentary quotes from the grand and belated leader, anyone could prophecy those things. Yes, back in ’68, most anyone with any knowledge of history could have said “the American dollar will one day be in jeopardy of being devalued” or “America will one day collapse as a democratic republic.” Why? Because those things happen, God or no God—America being part of “biblical Israel” or not.
One answer I hear given to this “time frame problem” is the example of the Apostles back when Jesus was around. They thought the end was coming in their time. Well, their timing was off by about 2,000 years. Oopsie. But in all seriousness, if you can say anything you want and time is of no consequence, then any schmuck can say “Argentina will cease to be a country.” Will he be right? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean he’s inspired by God. However, if he says, “Argentina will cease to be a country in exactly 5 years”…and it HAPPENS then I would start to believe he was of God.
Also conspicuously lacking in Brad’s article is the reference to Europe. Back in the day it was the fear of a United European “beast power” with Germany as its head that made Herbert’s followers shake in their shoes. But Mr. Macdonald’s article was all about how the US is in economic war with China. Read as much of Herbert Armstrong’s works as you like and you will know that this current “economic war” is supposed to be between a German lead EU and the US/UK.
Editor’s Note: funny thing…they acknowledge that Mr. A said WW 3 was already underway in the late 60s and at the same time are saying it is finally here after 42yrs and so isn’t he such a visionary?
Pedantic Editor’s Note: The trick of reinterpreting predictions after the fact to make them appear to be successful is called postdiction, and it is a classic tool of “prophecy” purveyors, charlatans all.