We have seen many things in the past few months about the coronavirus that have raised collective questioning. However, one question I have not heard very often is this:

“Where were the prophets?”

Many people today claim to hear directly from God on a regular basis. Some hear His voice, some say He appears to them or brings them up to Heaven to talk with Him. You can watch these ‘prophets’ make their claims on many Christian television networks and YouTube and read about them in different Christian publications. Many of these modern-day prophets also claim to be able to heal people and do miracles on earth just as Jesus Christ did when He lived on earth two-thousand years ago.

The question “where were the prophets?” addresses three important areas:

  1. the modern-day prophets’ lack of knowledge about the coronavirus and warning people about the global pandemic prior to the start of the virus at the end of 2019
  2. the prophets’ inability to heal people of the coronavirus or raise people who died from the virus back to life
  3. the prophets’ lack of power to perform miracles to bring an end to the coronavirus and global pandemic once they learned about it in 2020

I’ve written for years about the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and its belief in modern-day apostles and prophets. One reason for a special interest in the NAR is that I attended seminars in the 1970s taught by the man who later became the primary leader of the new apostolic movement. His name was C. Peter Wagner. If you haven’t read our ongoing series, Thinking About Christian Unity, I invite you to start with Part One. You can find the list of articles here.

Missing The Global Pandemic?

Many of the NAR apostles and prophets make annual prophecies about what they say God told them would happen the next year. I started reading their prophecies many years ago, then compared what they said would happen to what actually happened. I have not been impressed. Their prophecies are general in nature and vague in details. The prophecies of both the Old and New Testament prophets were specific in nature and focused on details. There really is no comparison between Bible prophets and modern-day prophets.

Cindy Jacobs wrote an article for Charisma Magazine in January 2015 that shared insight into the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE), of which she is a leader, and how the prophets come together to pronounce the “word of the Lord” for each new year. The article is titled “2015: The Turn-Around Year” –

“Each year, as we have since 1999, the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders met before the New Year to pray and seek the Lord for a word. In 2011 we added a group of emerging prophetic leaders that, as of this year, we consider fully seasoned members of our roundtable, and we included their input as well into this word of the Lord.”

[Notice that Jacobs said in 2015 that members of the ACPE were “fully seasoned members of our roundtable.” Did these seasoned prophets see the coming of the coronavirus pandemic when they met in the Fall of 2019? Let’s find out.]

The Global Prophetic Summit, held November 14-16, 2019, had many NAR apostles and prophets prophesy what God would do in 2020. This is their promise on the GPS website –

“with powerful prophetic leaders from across the globe who will be sharing God’s word for the upcoming season.”

Keep in mind that this prophetic gathering met about two weeks before the first coronavirus patient showed symptoms in China.

Some of the apostolic and prophetic leaders in last November’s conference included Cindy and Mike Jacobs, Guillermo Maldonado, Lou Engle, Bill Hamon, Ed Silvoso, James Goll, Che Ahn, Jennifer LeClair, Sam Brassfield and dozens of others.  Not one of them prophesied about the coronavirus outbreak and global pandemic that had either already begun or would begin within a couple of weeks in China before spreading to other countries several weeks later.

The coronavirus timeline that has been verified so far shows –

  • The first patient in China showed symptoms of the virus the first week of December 2019
  • Chinese health officials knew about the virus in December
  • Chinese doctors reported they were fighting a mysterious pneumonia in early January 2020
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) set up an Incident Management Support Team on January 1, 2020 so they would be on emergency footing to deal with a virus outbreak
  • The first coronavirus case outside of China was reported in mid-January 2020
  • The first coronavirus case in the United States was reported the third week of January 2020

These dates will be of importance as we compare what the NAR prophets knew to what Chinese health officials and WHO officials knew at the same time. It seems the NAR prophets were far behind the secular world organizations in knowing about the coronavirus.

Cindy Jacobs and Kenneth Copeland

Cindy Jacob’s prophecies were published in The Elijah List on January 21, 2020, just a couple of months after the Global Prophetic Summit. Remember that the coronavirus was already a health problem in China and had spread to other countries by the time the article was written. Here are some highlights from Jacob’s prophecy in early January 2020 in her own words.

Here’s some of what Jacobs wrote on her ministry blog, dated January 16, 2020. Let’s see if she says anything about the coronavirus or global pandemic, keeping in mind that China and WHO already knew about it –

  • “2020 is significant in that it is literally a new era. One of the words God has given is that we’re going to grow into our own skin. What do I mean by that? We’re going to grow into the purpose of God that He has for us. It’s time to intentionally say: what is my purpose, where am I going in life, and how do I achieve that? And how do I do come into conversion – a place where our full gifts, our full abilities are used? It’s a very exciting season.”
  • “All of you are listening to this, and we want to give you hope for your future. Maybe you’ve gone through terrible times of loss, terrible times when you feel like you’ve had setbacks, but I want to say to you: believe God. Believe God that He does have something wonderful for you, no matter how many things have happened to you, how much loss. I think many of us in the past few years have lost family members; there are things that have happened to us that we didn’t want to happen. Sometimes it can make us feel out of control. But this is a year where we are literally starting, not only a new decade, but a new era.”
  • “This is a season where we’re going to have to go to war to come into our reset and our blessings and our purpose. But don’t let that make you afraid. Just learn how to go to war; it’s very important. This is why, at Generals International, we teach on spiritual warfare. And we tell people how to navigate in prayer and [deal with] the powers of darkness coming against them. We need to go back and re-teach those things that we taught many years ago, because one of the things that my generation should do is teach the next generation what we know, because my generation knew how to go to war.”
  • “We know in this 2020 season and from 2 Chronicles 20:20-21 that there is a connection. The prophets prophesied, and the people who believed the prophets prospered. And what did the prophets say to do that would bring this blessing? It was worshiping the Lord – an intense worship of the Lord and intentional worship of the Lord.”
  • “Another thing that we heard as we were meeting together is that this was the 20th year of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. We first began meeting in 1999, and in the 20th anniversary (which was at the end of 2019), the prophetic movement in the year 2020 is coming into fullness. Many are learning to prophesy around the world and learning how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. They’re learning when God is speaking to them and how to hear the voice of God. We especially see this in evangelism. It is so exciting.”
  • “We also saw that the prophetic is going to rise up in many spheres of authority. There are going to be marketplace prophets. We were talking to one the other day, and he was telling us that when he’s with a group of business people, he gets very detailed words.”
  • “If you are feeling something coming that is dangerous to your nation or if you had a dream, many times that’s God telling you to pray about that thing.”
  • “There are governmental prophets rising up and it’s very exciting. This is a really common occurrence for me to speak to world leaders, to give them prophetic counsel or to prophesy to them. That’s one of the jobs of the prophet.”
  • “This is a time of very strong violence in the heavens. As we look at nations, we see there’s violence in weather; there’s violence in the earth – earthquakes (there was just an earthquake in Bogotá), volcanoes erupting, weather-related patterns, fires breaking out. Whether or not these things are natural, they do cause disturbance in people’s lives.”
  • “Another thing the Lord showed us is that, of course, miracles are going to keep playing a greater and greater part.”
  • “We are going to hear it in more and more agreement as many prophetic streams come together. Great authority to make decrees is coming, and governments will change as a result of these decrees.”
  • During the Global Prophetic Consultation (GPC), as we were praying with the prophets from 42 nations, we felt like there was almost a roar; we heard this sound of many waters like at Iguazu Falls in Argentina, or a place where the power of the waters are coming together strong. We are going to hear it in worship. We are going to hear it in more and more agreement as many prophetic streams come together. Great authority to make decrees is coming, and governments will change as a result of these decrees. We also received an exhortation the Lord has really strongly given me: do not simply prophesy the problems from the Earth, but if God gives you these warnings, see heaven’s solutions. In other words, prophesy from the throne of God. We are seated with Him in heavenly places. Prophesy God’s solutions – what He wants to do and His heavenly perspective.” 
  • “And finally, for now, it is a year of reset. This is the day when we will be anointed for reset. This reset will bring a breakthrough for relations, for families, and for the nations. God is going to turn impossible situations around. That’s an exciting word for 2020, isn’t it?”
  • “You know, Mike and I had such a year of joyful increase. But we took that word seriously. In fact, Mike and I always do this. We sow into the word; we give offerings. The Bible says that ministers are worthy of double honor, so we personally believed; we started giving cash offerings to different people we knew. And we began to sow and sow. We cast our bread upon the waters, and God just brought it back on every wave. It’s amazing. I had spent some money,  and we were at a point where we needed a blessing to come; then last night I found some money I didn’t even know I had. God is just wonderful to us.”
  • “I want you to learn to be a fighter this year. Don’t let satan run over you like a smooth road. Decree and declare: ‘This is my reset year. This is my year of restitution. This is my year of restoration. This is a year when I’m going to see a blessing come to my life.”
  • “Decide: ‘This is a year of complete realignment. I’m going to grow into my skin. I’m going to come into the purpose and destiny of God. I’m going to have restoration and restitution.”
  • “God bless you, and I want to wish you a happy 2020. I want you to use this word all year long. Let God anoint your voice. Watch, and be a watchman. Learn to go to war, and God is going to release a blessing to you. If Satan robs from you, like the scripture I’ve just read (Proverbs 6:30 and 31), tell Satan, ‘You’re going to have to give me back seven times.”
  • “This is a year of reset, this is a year of blessing, this is a year of roaring, this is a year of claiming and decreeing the promises. And if you do this, you are going to see that this will be a year of blessing. God bless you.” Cindy Jacobs, Generals International

Not one word about the coronavirus or global pandemic in a blog article posted in the middle of January 2020 — several weeks after the beginning of the virus outbreak in China and two weeks after the World Health Organization set up a special team to deal with an outbreak. Does that seem a little strange to you that a group of seasoned prophets knew nothing about a pandemic that had already begun? They knew nothing about it two weeks before the first patient showed symptoms in China, knew nothing about it after WHO set up its task force, knew nothing about it after the virus spread to other countries. Very strange indeed.

Kenneth Copeland also views himself as a prophet and is probably the wealthiest of the health and wealth prosperity gospel preachers today [his personal net worth is estimated to be about 760-million dollars]. Copeland says God speaks to him regularly, sometimes even as he is preaching.

Did God tell Copeland about the coronavirus and global pandemic in late 2019? Did God tell Copeland about it in early 2020 when the Chinese government and World Health Organization already knew about it? Apparently not because Copeland said nothing about a virus or pandemic in videos or writings during the end of 2019 and early part of 2020. You can see the sad details of what Copeland knew and didn’t know in this video. Copeland prophesied about politics in a general and vague way, but NOTHING about a virus and global pandemic. Not even a hint of a problem even though the virus was already spreading.

Lots of words … but not one word about a global pandemic, not one word about a virus, not one word of warning for what was already underway when Jacobs wrote in January of this year. Not one word. Jacobs and all the other ‘prophets’ that make up the ACPE (Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders, founded by C. Peter Wagner) MISSED the biggest global event of 2020 – the Coronavirus Pandemic. So did Kenneth Copeland. If their success as prophets is based on God giving them specific details about the future (like prophets in the Bible), they failed miserably. The virus raged and spread and the NAR prophets were in the dark.

Why? Did the NAR prophets miss what God was saying to them? Did they misunderstand something He did say? Did God withhold the information from them for some reason? Or does God not speak to these self-proclaimed prophets? Might they be hearing from another spirit? Might they be false prophets?

I began reading and comparing the annual predictions of NAR apostles and prophets many years ago. Their prophecies are usually so general that almost anything could happen in the next year and the apostles and prophets could point to being accurate in some way, some of the time. They admit they are not always right, but being right some of the time has been acceptable to them. That was NEVER acceptable in Bible times, but it’s okay with them now. Why? Because that’s all they have. They don’t and can’t live up to the prophetic model of the Bible, so they invented their own model.

Even so, missing the global pandemic? How did the NAR prophets miss that? If they’re hearing from God every day, as they claim, how did they not hear Him say something about a pandemic that would bring the planet to its collective knees just weeks after their annual prophetic meeting?

To their credit some NAR prophets are admitting to missing the Coronavirus pandemic and talking about why they missed it and what they can learn from it for the future.

Here are some of their comments shared in a recent podcast.

Healing During The Pandemic?

Another obvious problem the NAR apostles and prophets have faced this year is an inability to heal people since the coronavirus spread and became a global pandemic. Even though they preach and teach a health and wealth prosperity gospel, they have been unable to address the pandemic from a healing perspective. They talk about their power to heal any sickness or disease, but the NAR prophets have not been able to heal people or slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On March 11, 2020 Kenneth Copeland asked his viewers to put their hands on their television sets while he prayed that they would be healed and protected from the coronavirus. He did that after anointing his television staff with oil. You can see Copeland do that in this video from his television program beginning at one hour and 20 minutes into the video (1:20:00). Copeland claimed that when the anointing oil contacts their skin they are healed and “invincible to viruses” (Copeland’s words). Copeland then turned to his audience to offer them healing at one hour and 29 minutes into the video (1:29:00). Interestingly, Copeland later instructed his audience about how to wash their hands, clean surfaces with disinfectant to kill the virus and take more Vitamin C to stay healthy during the pandemic. You’ll see that beginning at one hour and 49 minutes into the video (1:49:00). Keep in mind that Copeland shared basic health recommendations just minutes after praying that the virus would have no power to harm them and they would be healed and well.

I’ve watched videos of several NAR apostles and prophets during the past few months and none of them have demonstrated any ability to heal anyone of coronavirus. They have cancelled meetings and conferences and most with churches have closed their doors to meetings. Their websites and videos recommend hand washing, social distancing, sheltering in place, eating nutritious foods, exercising, taking walks outside, etc. This is the same advice you can find on any secular health or wellness website. The prophetic advice is the same as the non-prophetic advice. Does that tell us something? It should.

If we are to believe their claims of power over every disease, healing people with the coronavirus should have been an easy thing to accomplish. NAR apostles and prophets claim they are able to do as much, if not more, than Jesus Christ did during His earthly ministry. However, we learn from the Gospel accounts that Jesus healed people of “every sickness and every disease among the people” (Matthew 9:35). That would include any viruses that might have been among the people at the time Jesus walked on the Earth. Jesus healed lepers and raised the dead. It seems strange that apostles and prophets of the NAR have so far been unable to heal people of the coronavirus or raise the dead in light of their boasts.

Justin Peters has done an excellent job exposing the NAR apostles and prophets about their impotence during the pandemic. The video is very long, but is well worth the time to learn about the inability of the prophets to predict the pandemic and heal anyone from the coronavirus. You may also be interested to read this article by Holly Pivec – The NAR antidote to coronavirus. She raises similar questions about many of the NAR apostles and prophets (including Bill Johnson, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California .. prophetic minister Shawn Bolz .. Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer .. prophetess Cindy Jacobs .. and prophet Doug Addison).

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here is a video of Kenneth Copeland ‘executing judgment’ on the coronavirus on March 30, 2020. Copeland also attempted to perform a miracle about a week later in early April 2020 to end the coronavirus and pandemic by blowing away the virus with the “wind of God”. You can watch the attempted ‘miracle’ here.

Question: has the virus disappeared yet? Did it blow away? Is it gone? How about the pandemic? Is it still here? Why couldn’t Kenneth Copeland perform a miracle that God told him to do? Might it be that Copeland does not hear from God? Might it be that Copeland is not a true prophet of God?

Bottom Line

The bottom line to all of this is that the self-proclaimed apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation did not predict the global pandemic, have no answer to why they didn’t know it was coming (even though they claim to hear from God regularly), have no answer as to why they didn’t know about it when the Chinese government and WHO knew about it before they did, and have no healing power over the coronavirus or pandemic.

Let me repeat that. The self-proclaimed apostles and prophets of the NAR –

  • did not predict the global pandemic
  • have no answer to why they didn’t know it was coming (even though they claim to hear from God regularly)
  • have no answer as to why they didn’t know about it when the Chinese government and WHO knew about it before they did
  • have no healing power over the coronavirus or pandemic

If the people of God look at the facts of Scripture and what has happened within the New Apostolic Reformation movement, they should all come to the same conclusion. The NAR is impotent and devoid of God’s power and blessing.

“An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:30-31

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”