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Protestants Abuzz Over Alleged Vision Of Controversial Minister Oral Roberts

For your discernment:

Evangelical, Pentecostal, and charismatic Christians have long agreed with their Catholic counterparts that mankind is in special times, a belief that has skyrocketed with 9/11, developments in the Middle East (which they see as the linchpin of future occurrences) and publication of controversial prophetic novels portending an era that will include Christ's return amid apocalyptic events.

Most recently, evangelist Billy Graham told 140,000 in Kansas City that America appears to be turning away from God. "On the final day of his Kansas City crusade, Graham pointed to efforts to remove prayer from schools, 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Ten Commandments from public places," noted the Associated Press. "The 85-year-old evangelist warned the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium to accept Jesus' sacrifice for their sins 'while there's time' to escape God's righteous judgment.'"

Using even minor developments in Israel as an augur, many Protestants have associated the Middle East with disasters that are currently cropping up -- a significant variance with Catholics who see the entire world situation (not just conflicts in the Middle East) as the cause of God's displeasure, manifest in storms, societal unrest, and other disturbances.

Now comes one of the most famous Christian "prophets," Oral Roberts, with a dramatic prediction that has the Protestant prophetic movement abuzz. We submit it for your information.

Roberts' claims long have been under skeptical scrutiny. In  1977 he asserted that God had told him to build what became known as the City of Faith Medical Center. He also claimed he saw a 900-foot-tall Jesus, who said that the City of Faith would be successful. Four years later, in 1981, he opened the City of Faith. In 1983 Roberts said that Jesus Christ appeared to him in person (not a vision) and told him to find a cure for cancer.

So far, there is no cure for cancer. Meanwhile, the medical center closed in 1987.

But Roberts is a major force in the Protestant prophetic movement, with what supporters claim have been striking "hits," and claims that he was granted a vision toward the end of last year.

"In the midst of the turmoil, the fear, the anxiety thatís in our nation and in our world, as I was walking and meditating, I heard the voice of God," he announced last month on a Christian television program hosted by Kenneth Copeland. "Iíve heard that voice many times. Itís familiar to me, and thereís no way that I can fail to understand His voice because Iím familiar with it.

"And instantly I heard that voice and I heard it and then I saw with my eyes something Iíd never seen.

"Suddenly, in the clouds in the skies above New York City and the east part of the United States, and which hung there for quite sometime and then spread out across America, without touching the ground, and then God diffused it away from America and sent it out to the nations of the earth.

"And I saw and I heard. What did I see? I saw something coming down from above: Smoke and vapor and blood, or it looked like that to my eyes, to my spiritual eyes.

"There it was hanging so huge until it almost blotted out the sky.

"Instantly I thought about 9/11, when the terrorists attacked the Twin Towers and through television all of us in America, and probably the world, saw those more than a hundred-story high buildings crumple and heard the cry of thousands of people who were being either killed or wounded. 

"First, I saw this thing hovering and great changes coming in it to where I couldnít miss it. And then I heard, something came into my ears...

"The sound that was coming into my ears was penetrating my whole being.

"And then I heard Godís voice. He said, 'Iím making a sign. This is a sign according to the second chapter of Acts, where the Apostle Peter, upon the giving of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, said thereíll be signs in the skies.' He said, 'This is one of the signs of the end time because the world is not ready for the Second Coming of my Son.'"

Catholics have likewise reported both strange rumblings and alleged signs in the sky, which we report for your discernment. 

It is Roberts' contention that the voice told him Christians are "not ready for the Second Coming of my Son."

He quoted the Lord as telling him that ďAmerica has been set aside by a special covenant that I made with many of the people who came to found this nation several hundred years ago, that this was my nation and the Gospel was going to go out from it unlike any other nation and thereíd be more Gospel going out from America.Ē

"And then He startled me," claims the famous evangelist. "He said, 'With all of the widespread force of my church in the world, but particularly in the United States, which is the source of most of the Gospel thatís being preached in all the world,' He said, 'there is a wasting of my power, there is a failure to grasp the end time. And the church, they are coming to church on Sunday morning mostly for themselves."

In an interview on August 26, the evangelist -- who also has been the focus of controversy over fund-raising techniques -- further quoted "the Lord" as saying that  ďwhen those planes of the terrorists struck the Twin Towers in New York City and they gradually came tumbling down, it was something bigger than people had ever seen, but itís nothing in comparison to whatís going to happen in the Second Coming of my Son.Ē

While agreeing that we are in a special time, Catholics and Protestants often differ on what the climax will be, especially the Protestant concept of a "rapture," which is against Church teaching. Prophetic Catholics are likewise split on whether we are in a simple purification as there have been purifications in the past or one that is leading to a denouement such as Christ's Coming.

Roberts particularly pointed to Matthew 24 as a verse indicated to him by the "voice."

He also alluded to an event that bears similarities to what many Catholics believe will be a great "sign" or "warning."

"My church has to wake up because what Iím revealing in this sign that every eye is going to see, every ear is going to hear," he quoted the voice as saying. "Theyíll see this thing. They will not necessarily know what it is, but itís a wake-up call about the Second Coming of my Son. Itís not going to come and touch the earth. Itís going to be seen, itís going to be heard, and people are going to become aware of the drama of the end time, of the Second Coming of Christ."

Added Roberts, who is now 86 and founder of a major university in Oklahoma, "It seems to me that we should tell the world about this vision, because I saw it and I heard it and I know that some timeówell, it seems to me it could be very soonóthat this sign, whatever form it is revealed to you, maybe you wonít see it exactly like I saw it, but youíll see something thatís beyond anything youíve ever seen.

"Youíll hear something in the innermost part of your being that youíve not heard. Itíll have to do with the second coming, to tell you itís now time to get on your knees. I feel it now coming out of my being. Itís now time to go back to church.

"'But itís now time, preacher, teacher, to get up with my Bible and really preach the Second Coming of Christ and to tell people things arenít going on like theyíre going on now. Thereís going to be an end of all this. Thereís going to be a wake-up of the whole world, and the terrorists are just the prelude. What weíre seeing now from them is not going to stop. There are going to be things from them that are beyond what we now see."

Oct 25,  2004

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