Over the past several days Pastor David Wilkerson’s prophecy regarding a great calamity coming upon the United States (starting in New York City) has been headlined on the Drudge Report and has been read by millions. Consequently, many people are emailing me asking what I think about this.

In 2006 I prophesied that America was coming into a time of judgment, so I agree with the general premise that God is judging this nation for all of its greed and disobedience against His laws. The question is not if we are being judged; the question rather is, to what extent will we be judged? The following are my thoughts regarding this.

I. I greatly respect David Wilkerson for pioneering a work in New York City that has spawned over 140 Teen Challenge centers throughout the nations. He has also built a very successful church in the heart of Manhattan, Times Square Church, that now leads a prayer meeting every fall in the streets of Times Square which in 2008 had over thirty thousand attendees!

Nevertheless, whenever a person says they hear from God about something affecting the lives of many people, other leaders in that region (in this case New York City since the prophesied calamity is to begin there) need to pray and ask the Lord if what that person said is true. No matter how famous or successful a minister is, the Bible instructs us to judge prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). The Bible says that God does nothing unless He first reveals is to His prophets (Amos 3:7) so those called to spiritual leadership in the greater New York region need to pray and ask the Lord for discernment. I highly doubt the Lord would do something this big without confirming it through the mouths of others in New York City.

II. Another key national leader that I highly respect--known more for his integrity than even his great ministry—has told me he had a vision of the United States becoming like a Third World nation, with many places in our nation not having running water or electricity because of the judgment of God due to the sins of this nation. This may or may not be connected to Pastor Wilkerson’s prophecy. But if they are linked then it adds even more credence to the validity of these prophecies.

III. David Wilkerson has been preaching judgment on the United States for at least 30 years. There were books like Put the Trumpet to Thy Mouth in which he predicts that America would be destroyed by fire and other works. Also, a friend of mine told me that one prophecy Wilkerson gave in the 1990’s dealt with the Y2K issue--when chaos was supposed to break out all over the world on January 1, 2000 because computers would supposedly revert back to the year 1900.

Thus, this kind of prophecy is nothing new. As of yet, almost 30 years after the mentioned book, America is still standing albeit hobbling and trying to hold on for dear life!

IV. David Wilkerson seems to hold to a hyper-dispensational eschatological view of Scripture in which all the events of the book of Revelation and many of the Old Testament prophecies from the major and minor prophets are yet to occur, with many relating to the United States, Israel, and current events. Those with this pre-millennial view believe that the world will become worse, with judgment coming upon the nations, before the second bodily coming of Christ. Thus, their interpretive lens of Scripture calls for doom and gloom which lends itself more to the kind of prophecies Rev. Wilkinson gives, as opposed to those with a post-millennium or classic pre-millennial view in which there is anticipation of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God increasing in influence as we disciple the nations, preparing the way for the bodily return of Christ (Acts 3:20-21 and Psalm 110:1-3.)

This is not to say that those with a post-millennial view of Scripture believe heaven on earth will fully come before Jesus appears, or that their view of eschatology precludes the allowance of the judgment of God on nations, including the United States.

V. When I hear prophecies like these I am concerned about how they will trigger fear instead of faith in the hearts and minds of Christians living in New York City, causing them to run away from their calling to this city, instead of hunkering down and ministering to their communities--no matter hell or high water as the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5).

I remember in the 1970’s when many preachers and so-called prophets were predicting that Armageddon would soon come. Many prophesied in the late 1970’s that Russia would attack Israel as Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39 which, based on Hal Lindsey’s book The Late Great Planet Earth, is an example of taking Old Testament texts out of context to make them fit current events! Because of this, many people fled New York City and moved to upstate New York so they would not be destroyed when the hydrogen bombs sent by Moscow annihilated New York City. One family I know that had a great call on their lives, ministering to the gangs in my community and winning many to Christ, picked up and moved upstate 30 years ago, never to be seen or heard from again.

In summary, it is obvious to all that this nation is in trouble and that God is judging us (including the church) for our greed, and for preaching a gospel that is based more on the satisfaction of self more than crucifying the flesh and abandoning all for the Kingdom of God. This is a season of fasting and praying, but is also a great opportunity for the church to meet the needs of the thousands finding themselves homeless, unemployed, facing foreclosure, and those on Wall Street that are on the verge of losing all of their assets. What a time to stand in the gap as salt and light for our cities, whether they are under God’s judgment or not!

Joseph Mattera