I've lost count of the number of people who have asked for my opinion on Dana Coverstone, the pastor from Kentucky who released videos this year predicting destruction and chaos in the United States in 2020. I've listened to his messages. He seems like a friendly, humble guy who was surprised when the warnings he posted on YouTube went viral.
I don't doubt Rev. Coverstone's sincerity. He is my brother in Christ. And I know God can speak through dreams. My main concern is his predictions are spreading a virus of fear that is more dangerous than COVID-19.
Coverstone, who is on staff at Living Word Ministries in Burkesville, Kentucky, says he had the disturbing dreams in the fall of last year and then in December 2019. The dreams seem to predict the coronavirus pandemic, the riots of the summer and a frightening outbreak of lawlessness in November.
"I'm not claiming to be a prophet," Coverstone says in his video. "But I know when I hear God's voice. ... We're going to see major chaos in our country. We're going to see troops in our cities. We're going to see the protests get even worse. We're going to see buildings burn. We're going to see what can only lead to civil war in this country."
So far, a million people have seen Coverstone's videos, so you can imagine the level of panic that is rising among Christians who were already traumatized by the coronavirus and the burning buildings in Portland, Seattle and other cities. The pastor advises people to buy guns and stock up on food, ammunition and alternative currencies to protect themselves when more riots erupt and banks run out of money.
To people who are frightened by these videos, or who feel obligated to share them, I offer some basic biblical advice:
- Keep your eyes on the invisible realm, not on the problems. Coverstone says in one of his videos that he reads 40 newspapers a day. If I soaked my mind in that much negativity every day, I would have nightmares too. The only way I've been able to sleep peacefully during this crazy season has been to increase my time in prayer and God's Word.
Keeping our minds on Jesus is a challenge when the media bombards us daily with bad reports.
Isaiah 26:3a (NKJV) says: "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You." Remember Elisha's servant. When he saw the enemy's chariots surrounding the city he felt depressed and fearful, but when Elijah prayed for him, his eyes were opened to see that God's invisible angelic armies were more numerous (see 2 Kings 6:15-16). Perspective is so important in this troubling season!
- Don't put anyone's prophecy on the same level with Scripture. We charismatics have a tendency to sensationalize prophecies. In 1999 many preachers predicted we would enter a new Stone Age when all computers failed on Dec. 31, 1999. Many Christians hunkered down and expected global disaster. But when the clock advanced to the year 2000, the Y2K debacle proved to be an embarrassing hoax, and all the hand wringing proved to be a waste of time.
I'm not saying we won't see scary headlines in November. It doesn't take a prophet to see we are heading for a serious crisis on election day. If there is widespread voter fraud, or if certain groups don't get their way, it's almost certain there will be serious outbreaks of violence. Because we are so divided politically, we may face a Constitutional crisis. Some politicians, journalists and activists have already used the word "war" to describe their intentions. But the Bible should fill us with hope that our God will protect us through this storm!
- Instead of worrying, pray fervently—and expect God to answer. Many pastors I know view Rev. Coverstone's dream as a dire warning of what could happen—not a prophecy of what will happen. Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy, but our loving Father wants to renew, restore and rescue us from our enemies. God calls us to pray Matthew 6:13b (MEV): "Deliver us from evil."
No matter how dark it gets, no matter how many riots erupt in our cities and no matter what happens on Election Day, our response should be to ask for divine help. We don't have permission to freak out, give up or hide in fear. We trust Him because we know His invisible angelic armies are stronger than the dark forces that threaten and intimidate us.
This weekend thousands of Christians will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a national and global day of prayer and repentance. Even more believers will join the event virtually, with simulcasts in 90 languages. Find out more here. I believe the portals of heaven are open to hear us on Sept. 25-26, as we pray for mercy for our wayward nation.
Instead of expecting doom and gloom, let's ask our merciful God to heal our land. Instead of hiding in our homes with guns and canned goods, let's shout it from the housetops that Jesus can heal our divided country.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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