A Prophecy for Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017

Last summer I put up a video that talked about my spiritual conversion and my experiences in Medjugorje. The video also included a confession: I saw Jesus in Medjugorje. I still see Him every day and have so for sixteen years—ever since I made that pilgrimage to Medjugorje. This is something that I have not shared very much—and for a very good reason: people who speak to Jesus are generally crazy. If there is ever a convention of visionaries and prophets, I admit, I would be sure to miss it. The truth is I probably never would have mentioned these events at all except for one problem. Jesus gave me a message to share. Actually, it’s more like a prophecy. I delivered this prophecy last year on April 16th. So why am I mentioning all of this again? It’s because the prophecy concerns events that have not yet happened, and I am supposed to warn all of you.

The trouble is that the message is not very clear. It includes dates and numbers. One of these mysterious dates is April 16th. The reason that I posted the prophecy on April 16th was because I believed that part of the prophecy included a prediction of a terrible event occurring on that day. And such an event did occur last year—the 7.8 Ecuador earthquake. I mentioned all of this in a later blog post here.

So why I am I bringing all of this up again? It’s because a lady contacted me who saw my YouTube video (see link above), and she asked me whether the part of the prophecy that mentions April 16th might pertain to this year. The short and quick answer is that yes, it may pertain to this year also—or even some other April 16th—or no April 16th whatsoever.

Prophecies can be tricky, as anyone who is familiar with Biblical prophecy should understand. “666”—what does that mean? A common reading of the New Testament says that the Apostles misunderstood Jesus’ prophecies about his eventual return to earth. According to this interpretation, the Apostles mistakenly thought that it would take place in their lifetime, or at least in the lifetime of Apostle John. Here is what we can glean from these examples—that prophecy is one thing; the interpretation of them, very much another.

We see this important distinction made quite explicit in the Book of Daniel. One of Daniel’s special gifts is the ability to accurately interpret the prophetic dreams of other people. We also see this in the story of Joseph in Genesis.

The reason I am going to the trouble to explain this important distinction is because if we don’t keep it clear in our minds, we will make the mistake of confusing erroneous interpretations with false prophecies. They are not the same thing. The Bible is quite clear that it is possible to make an incorrect interpretation of a nevertheless quite real and authentic prophecy. I mean, how many umpteen thousands of times has the Biblical prophecy of the end of the world been misinterpreted? So should we conclude that the prophecy is false because somebody gave a false interpretation? Of course not!

To bring this back to my own prophetic message, I am fully confident that the prophecy is authentic. This is because it has already successfully predicted September 11th , as I explain in my video (see link above). But I am much less confident in interpretations. And one very murky area concerns the meaning of April 16th. It would seem to be quite important to decipher its meaning since we get at least one of them per year. And we have another one in just a few days—this one occurring on Easter Sunday. And I think because this one is so special, it has been weighing heavily on my mind—especially since the bombings of two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday.

So, inspired by this woman’s inquiry, I am going to attempt some sort of analysis of the meaning of April 16th in the prophecy that I received. Here is the first thing to understand. April 16th is not the main part of the prophecy. The main part that describes the actual events of the prophecy can be found in Ezekiel, chapter 5. Here it is:

[Ez.5:8–17]:

[T]hus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you; and I will execute judgments in the midst of you in the sight of the nations. 9And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. 10Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in the midst of you, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds. 11Wherefore, as I live, says the Lord GOD, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will cut you down; q my eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. 12A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in the midst of you; a third part shall fall by the sword round about you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and will unsheathe the sword after them.13 “Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself; and they shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken in my jealousy, when I spend my fury upon them. 14Moreover I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations round about you and in the sight of all that pass by. 15You shall be r a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations round about you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious chastisements—I, the LORD, have spoken— 16when I loose against you  my deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will loose to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you, and break your staff of bread. 17I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children; pestilence and blood shall pass through you; and I will bring the sword upon you. I, the LORD, have spoken.” (RSV)

Now let’s focus on the highlighted parts. A third of some population will die of “pestilence.” Is that likely to occur in a single day? No. Thus, we can safely conclude that April 16th is not the day for the fulfillment of the prophecy because this prophecy cannot be fulfilled in a single day. This prophecy covers a much longer time frame.

Might some part of the prophecy occur on some April 16th or other? Certainly. This may in fact be the significance of April 16th. Is it necessary that all events of the prophecy occur only on April 16ths? Absolutely not. The first event of this prophecy took place on Sept. 11, 2001.

Can this be the only meaning of April 16th, namely, that it is a day when some divine chastisement occurs? No, there can be other meanings too. For example, the Lord revealed that the numbers can be moved around to create another significant date: June 14th (6-14). What is the significance of 6-14? I don’t know. I know that it is Flag Day for the United States. Is it possible that 4-16 or 6-14 is telling us that the location of the chastisement is the United States? This is a definite possibility since the disaster of 9-11 occurred in New York.

On this “Flag-Day” interpretation of the date, does this mean that the chastisements will  occur only in the United States? This seems to be obviously false. “Pestilence” is more common in other countries right now. And terrorism is everywhere. Could it mean that the United States, although perhaps not the exclusive target of the prophecy, nevertheless, represents a major target or epicenter? Yes, that is definitely possible. I speculate in my book whether the United States may in fact be the apocalyptic Babylon described in Revelation.

Are there other possible meanings of April 16th? Yes. It is Pope Benedict’s birthday for one thing. That could be significant in that it is not often the Church has two living popes. April 16th is also the day on which St. Faustina was canonized in 2000. This I think is definitely relevant to the prophecy of chastisement. St. Faustina is the Polish nun who introduced the Divine Mercy image and devotion into the Church. If the chastisements in Ezekiel accurately describe our future, many innocent people are going to die. It is likely that our Lord wants people to be reminded of His mercy in such a time of trial. The innocent may indeed suffer and die on a large scale, but what awaits them is a merciful judgment. Not so, the wicked.

So what then should we think about this Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017? I don’t really know. I was given a message about a terrible catastrophe occurring on April 16th just last year. But I thought that the Ecuador earthquake fulfilled that.

It is certainly part of this prophetic message that we not know all the details. For He is not giving us this message to help us escape the punishment. He is telling us there is no escape. God is telling us that we are being punished for our sins. Since we know this beforehand, we can prepare ourselves for a holy death through repentance. Although it may be too late to save our lives—it is not too late to save our souls through repentance. Perhaps this is God’s message. Certainly it is.

Can I Define “Spiritual”? Can You Explain Prophecy?

This week I have had several debates on Twitter about my book.  A number of skeptics have been challenging my thesis that religious practices promote mental health and function.  As I have pointed out repeatedly, this is more than a religious teaching; it is also a scientific finding—one that is being taken very seriously by the medical establishment.

Now, over the course of these Twitter skirmishes, some of my interlocutors have complained that I am not responding to their tweets.  The problem is that Twitter forces us to limit explanations to 140-character bites.  This is just not adequate if you are trying to carry on a debate of any depth. The result is an exponential multiplication of Tweets, whence it becomes increasingly easy to lose track of them. So I have decided to move the conversation to my blog site.  I have more space to explain myself, and so do they.

The first point that must be made is this. Skeptics need to know that the research that I cite in my book is no pseudoscience.  It comes from every major research institution in the world—Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Oxford, Duke . . . . No serious student of science any longer denies the evidence that shows that religious and spiritual practices benefit the mind.  Even New Atheist Sam Harris acknowledges this, for that is the topic of his book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion:

There is now a large literature on the psychological benefits of meditation. Different techniques produce long-lasting changes in attention, emotion, cognition, and pain perception, and these correlate with both structural and functional changes in the brain. This field of research is quickly growing, as is our understanding of self-awareness and related mental phenomena. Given recent advances in neuroimaging technology, we no longer face a practical impediment to investigating spiritual insights in the context of science. Harris, Sam (2014-09-09). Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (p. 8). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

From this groundbreaking neuroscientific research, and with the help of sacred Scripture, I draw a revolutionary conclusion: science is discovering  the truth of Christianity.  In my book, I point out that the Bible teaches exactly what neuroscience is discovering—spiritual practices produce psychological and cognitive benefits:  From Isaiah 11 we learn that the gifts of the Holy Spirit include the cognitive powers of the mind like wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and counsel.  And Galatians 5 teaches that the fruits of the Spirit include psychological benefits: joy, peace of mind, and self-control.  These are the antidotes to the four major categories of mental illness. Joy and peace of mind protect us against depression and anxiety disorders respectively.  And self-control protects us against the other two categories of mental illness: substance abuse and impulse control disorders.

Thus, we find in these ideas a most surprising convergence of religion and science, or, more accurately, Christianity and science, just as John Paul II predicted in The Theology of the Body. And he predicted that it would all take place in the area of human psychology—what he called “the moral psychology of the Bible.”

But this “convergence of faith and science,” as John Paul called itis by no means a perfect one.  It is a convergence that includes many divergences, and one of the major divergences is over the question of causation.  What explanation is there to account for the salubrious impact of religion on the mind?

It is over this question where the party ends, and religion and science go their separate ways.  For by including them as “fruits of the Spirit,” St. Paul is saying about our mental health qualities that they depend on a spiritual power. He is saying that one must live a spiritual life in order to cultivate communion with that spiritual Power.  And what is the nature of this spiritual life according to St. Paul?  It is Christian, of course.  St. Paul is saying that the fruit of mental health is irreducibly spiritual—irreducibly Christian, even. More radically, St. Paul is saying—the whole Bible is saying—that the human mind needs Christianity to function properly. (In my book, I show how this is in fact the hidden message of the  New Covenant as it is described for us by the prophets—Ezekiel in particular.)

It goes without saying that Sam Harris, along with most of the scientific world, dissents from this Christocentric model of mental health and function. Here is Harris from Waking Up. (Bold print is my emphasis):

Spirituality must be distinguished from religion— because people of every faith, and of none, have had the same sorts of spiritual experiences. While these states of mind are usually interpreted through the lens of one or another religious doctrine, we know that this is a mistake. Nothing that a Christian, a Muslim, and a Hindu can experience— self-transcending love, ecstasy, bliss, inner light— constitutes evidence in support of their traditional beliefs, because their beliefs are logically incompatible with one another. A deeper principle must be at work.Harris, Sam (2014-09-09). Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (pp. 8-9). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

To see how these opposing views of spirituality work out in practice, we should focus on prayer and meditation, for these are popular subjects of study for neuroscientists. Both Christian and Eastern methods of prayer have been linked to improved mental function.  A religious explanation would say that the content of the prayer or meditation is important.  For Catholics, the fact that they are praying a rosary or the Divine Office is not irrelevant.  But, as Sam Harris points out, the content can’t be important since religious content and belief differ from religion to religion and are often contradictory.

Neuroscientists have a logical theory to account for the common mental health benefits of conflicting faith traditions:  It must be what they have in common that counts.  Consequently, it is not the words of the prayer that count, but rather, it is the quiet environment, the unique prayer posture, the disciplined breathing, the practice of concentration, the repeated and chanted language, the use of candles and incense, etc.

Thus, what these different faith traditions have in common is not spiritual, but physical. According to this neuroscientific explanation, the mental health benefits of prayer come from the physical attributes of prayer.  There is nothing spiritual going on, and no spiritual or religious explanation is needed to account for the health benefits of religious devotion.  Dr. Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman are two researchers whose experiments have led them to this conclusion. Here is an excerpt from their book, How God Changes Your Brain.  It comes from chapter two: “Do You Even Need God When You Pray?”  Their answer to this provocative question is provided below. Bold emphasis is mine:

MEDITATION WITHOUT GOD

This was our first real evidence that a meditation practice, even when removed from its spiritual and religious framework, can substantially improve memory in people suffering from cognitive problems. This is good news for millions of aging Americans, because it is easy to get into the habit of meditating twelve minutes a day. Our study also shows that meditation can be separated from its spiritual roots and still remain a valuable tool for cognitive enhancement.Newberg M.D., Andrew; Mark Robert Waldman (2009-03-20). How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist (Kindle Locations 555-559). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

You can see that the argument that spirituality is an entirely natural phenomenon utterly devoid of any supernatural/spiritual influences is quite good.  It is logical, coherent, and it is backed up with plenty of empirical data.  So what response can be made on behalf of the supernatural?  What evidence do we have that spirituality is not totally reducible to natural, somatic processes?

I address this question at the end of chapter three of my book, and I answer it at the end of chapter 4.  The key to my answer is contained in Sam Harris’s words above.  (See the words I highlighted in red.) Sam Harris assumes that the results produced in laboratories and those produced by “spiritual but not religious” atheists are roughly equivalent to the results from Christian and Buddhist prayer professionals.  In fact, the truth of this assumption is absolutely essential to the materialist model of mind: if there is nothing spiritual or supernatural going on when one engages in spiritual/religious practices like prayer, then the results from skeptics ought to match those produced by religious believers.

Consider the alternative.  Imagine two people who are equally adept at prayer and meditation. One believes in God; the other is an atheist.  Now imagine that both are diagnosed with cancer.  For the sake of this thought experiment, let us stipulate that the cancers are identical in kind and severity—identical in every way.  Let us further imagine that both people use their prayer practice as a healing method.  The atheist gets a 50% reduction in the cancer mass.  The God-believer gets a total healing.  Let us further imagine that, in a million cases, the atheist can never get better than 50%, while believers are consistently at 100%.  Furthermore, in many of the atheist cases, the cancer comes back, but believers consistently experience a complete healing.  In such an admittedly very hypothetical case, could you honestly say with a straight face that “you don’t need God when you pray?” No, you could not.  The argument that “you don’t need God when you pray” necessarily demands that the results of atheist spirituality be identical in kind and quality to the results produced by religious believers.  Have they gotten the same results?

My book says no.  My defense of the Christocentric model of mind argues that the mental health benefits of Christian spirituality are immeasurably superior to those produced by any alternative.  What is my evidence?  History is.  Let’s start with cognitive function.  As noted above, Newberg and Waldman claim to have produced “cognitive enhancements” using a religion-free spirituality in their laboratories.  But history shows that the Church has produced infinitely more in the way of intellectual achievement.  The Church built Western civilization:

We have just seen that numerous historians and scholars give credit to the Church for “building Western civilization.” The Church invented the very idea of the university, and this contribution alone is responsible for the Scientific Revolution, for without the universities, no sustainable scientific progress would have been possible. The Church has given us unrivaled advances in art, architecture, music, science, law, economics, agriculture, and technology. Certainly it is fair to classify such contributions as “cognitive enhancements,” as Newberg and Waldman call them.  (The Immoral Landscape of the New Atheism, p. 159)

And how about the contributions of the Eastern religions,which are older than Christianity and so have had more time and opportunity to demonstrate their power?  I’ll let Sam Harris answer this one:

We can also grant that Eastern wisdom has not produced societies or political institutions that are any better than their Western counterparts; in fact, one could argue that India has survived as the world’s largest democracy only because of institutions that were built under British rule. Nor has the East led the world in scientific discovery. Nevertheless, there is something to the notion of uniquely Eastern wisdom, and most of it has been concentrated in or derived from the tradition of Buddhism.  Harris, Sam (2014-09-09). Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (p. 28). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

As I show in my book, one can make a very strong case for Christianity as the greatest intellectual and creative force of all time.  And nothing that neuroscientists have produced in their laboratories has come close to challenging this inconvenient truth. Unless skeptics can produce psycho-cognitive benefits equal to that of Christianity, we have every good reason to put our faith in the authentically spiritual and supernatural Source of our faith.

In addition to the evidence of history, we have the terrifying testimony of our own age, namely that, as Christianity has disappeared from the culture, mental illness and disorder have been increasing. Research shows that religious affiliation in America is the lowest it has ever been at the same time that mental illness is skyrocketing. And the evidence on this score is mounting daily.  Here are some alarming statistics on suicide in the U.S. just released by the CDC a few days ago:

Key findings

Data from the National Vital Statistics System, Mortality

  • From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006.
  • Suicide rates increased from 1999 through 2014 for both males and females and for all ages 10–74.

That mental dysfunction would accompany the loss of Christianity was prophesied in the Epistle of Jude, and this raises another important and related issue.  What about prophecy?  It is certainly part of orthodox, traditional Christianity that some people might receive special powers of the mind that enable them to see the future.  If such mental powers could be verified by empirical methods, this would require skeptics to produce prophecies of like kind and quality in order to prove that nothing supernatural was involved.  It is safe to say that few atheists are worried about such a challenge.  Being the muggles that they are—and a more arrogant and presumptuous lot than these New Atheist muggles you would be hard-pressed to find—they have happily concluded that since they possess no such powers, then no such powers exist.  So permit me to step forward with a challenge to this assumption.  In early April, I received prophetic information that a terrible disaster would occur on April 16, 2016, and that many lives would be lost.  

new-walden-banner-4/16/16

new-walden-banner-4/16/16

I posted this prophecy on the morning of the 16th and tweeted a link to it, which you can see below.  Here is what this website looked like on April 16: 

The prophecy included the description of an earthquake. As you know, the 7.8 Ecuador earthquake hit on that very day, just hours after I posted the prophecy.  Maybe it’s a coincidence; maybe a hoax. But just maybe—it’s the real thing.  You can decide for yourself.  If it is the real thing, it means that the time has come for Judgment, and the only way to save yourself is by repentance.

Here is another tidbit of the supernatural that arrived just this morning from Medjugorje. It is a message from the Blessed Virgin Mary to her disciples, which includes me:

My children, my words are neither old nor new, they are eternal. Therefore, I invite you, my children, to observe well the signs of the times – to ‘gather the shattered crosses’ and to be apostles of the revelation. Thank you.

There is much more to say.  It will have to wait for a later post. JG