“Crisis actors? This is like Alex Jones territory you’re getting into now. What evidence do you have to support that there is some propaganda film in the making?” This was Associated Press reporter Matt Lee’s response to State Department spokesman Ned Price’s explosive allegation of a Russian false flag operation. According to Price, Russia might be using crisis actors to “fabricate a pretext for an invasion” of Ukraine by creating “a very graphic propaganda video” of a fake Ukrainian attack against Russia.
When pressed for evidence, Price answered, “It is intelligence information that we have declassified.” However, when Lee asked, “Where is the declassified information?” Price answered, “I just delivered it. … You will see a transcript of this briefing that you can print out for yourself.” In a refreshing moment of journalistic skepticism, Lee responded, “That’s not evidence, Ned, that’s you saying it. It’s not evidence, I’m sorry. … You come out here and say this and expect us to just believe it without you showing a shred of evidence that it’s actually true.” Lee even reminded him that both Price and the State Department have a documented history of lying to reporters.
Before giving up the quest to secure evidence, Matt Lee made a final, unsuccessful appeal to Ned Price:
You’re saying, “The proof is that I just said it.” So, let me just appeal to you on behalf of all of us … [give us] one piece of evidence that the Russians are planning to use crisis actors to stage a false mass casualty event to use as a pretext. Just one piece, okay? And not you, or Kirby, or Jen, or John Finer, or Jake saying this is what is so, and then you turning around and saying, “Well, because we said it, it’s a fact.”
Commenting on this exchange, Tucker Carlson noted how Ned Price assured reporters, only months ago, that Kabul would not fall. Days later, it did fall. Carlson then proceeded to recall several other moments when our State Department asked reporters to place a blind faith in unsubstantiated allegations that later proved to be lies:
[Matt Lee] probably also remembers the time that Colin Powell promised the country … there were WMDs [weapons of mass destruction] in Iraq when there weren’t. Probably remembers the time Hillary Clinton claimed our ambassador in Benghazi was murdered over an Islamophobic YouTube video. He may remember those two separate occasions, not so long ago, when the entire foreign policy establishment in Washington assured us that evil Bashar al-Asad had gassed his own people with poison gas and deserved to be bombed, but at the same time, forgot to show us any evidence that it actually happened.
Tucker Carlson appears to be asking why anyone should trust a discredited messenger that refuses to own its prior mistakes or offer any reason to believe that, this time, the demand for blind faith will produce different results. These are worthwhile questions. But they should not be relegated to the realm of politics. We ought to apply this same skepticism to the assurances of YouTube’s numerous Christian “prophets” who have repeatedly promised everything from Donald Trump’s re-election in 2020 to a time of unprecedented national prosperity and blessing.
Time and again, the predictions of these prophets have failed to transpire. Nevertheless, the prophets immediately pivot into new prophecies based upon nothing more than their testimony that God spoke to them. Where are the Matt Lee types among God’s church who are willing to say, “Enough is enough! Prove to us why you are worthy of our blind faith”?
One of the most consistent prophetic themes on YouTube is the promise of an imminent season of national revival, blessing, and time of refreshing for America because we are a nation in covenant with God, and He will not abandon us to times of great national difficulty. Like Ned Price, no evidence is offered to support the claim that America is a nation in covenant with God, nor is evidence offered to substantiate the notion that God will not allow a nation in covenant to experience judgment. We are simply asked to accept these premises in blind faith.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume the first of these premises: America is a nation in covenant with God. Does this mean America can expect God’s supernatural favor in 2022, along with an imminent national revival? Forerunners of America Founder Dave Warn addressed this question in a recent INSIGHTS podcast. He cautions: “The Bible does not teach this: That there’s a revival without repentance, that there’s a revival without seeking God. It’s like, what are we expecting? That God will bless us as a rebellious people that are not interested in Him in the first place?”
Far from prophesying times of revival and blessing because of Israel and Judah’s covenant relationship with God, the prophet Jeremiah warned that national judgment was coming in response to their rebellion against God. It was precisely because they were in a covenant relationship with God that God refused to bless them but instead promised judgment:
Then the LORD said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires. For I solemnly, warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!”’ I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’”
Again the LORD spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem. They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries” (Jer. 11:6–11, NLT).
Dave Warn concludes, “[God is] saying, ‘Because you’re in covenant, I will judge you.’ … We’ve got this crazy idea out there [that] if you’re in covenant with God, you’re less responsible for your national sin. You can be more carefree because you won’t have any consequences for it. … Actually, if you’re in covenant with God, you’re more responsible.”
Even in Jeremiah’s day, unreliable prophets bent the ears of God’s people, promising blessing apart from repentance and obedience:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’” … “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds” (Jer. 23:16–17, 21–22, NLT).
If we truly desire to see national repentance and times of blessing and prosperity, then we must ignore the vain promises of the discredited YouTube prophets and turn to the surety of God’s Word: “At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (2 Chron. 7:13–14, NLT).
Apart from repentance, there will be no national revival. Likewise, apart from obedience, there will be no unprecedented season of blessing and prosperity. Our responsibility is not to idly sit by in eager expectation that some prophetic word will be fulfilled. Our job is first to align our own hearts with God and then to put forth a call to repentance among our friends, family, churches, co-workers, and neighbors.
Moments like Matt Lee’s confrontation with Ned Price remind us of the futility of repeatedly placing a blind faith in the assurances of discredited messengers. Let’s try something new. Let’s place our faith in the reliability of God’s written word. Let’s replace hope in prophetic declarations with obedience to God.
1. Reilly, Patrick. “Reporters Push State Department for Evidence of Russian ‘False Flag’ Plan.” News. New York Post, n.d. Last updated February 3, 2022, 9:28 p.m. https://nypost.com/2022/02/03/reporters-push-feds-for-evidence-of-russian-false-flag-plan/.
2. Bertrand, Natasha and Jennifer Hansler. “US Alleges Russia Planning False Flag Operation against Ukraine Using ‘Graphic’ Video.” Politics. CNN, n.d. Last updated February 3, 2022, 8:09 p.m., ET. https://www.cnn.com/2022/02/03/politics/us-alleges-russian-false-flag-ukraine/index.html.
3. C-Span. “Heated Exchange between State Dept. & Media on Evidence Russia Fabricating Attacks by Ukraine.” YouTube video, 11:40, February 3, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DTSSvtg19I.
5. Fox News. “Tucker: Republicans and Democrats Are ‘Hysterical’ about This.” YouTube video, 16:36, February 4, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hroe2LSBraU.
7. Forerunners of America. “Warnings for 2022 | INSIGHTS #172.” YouTube video, 1:18:14, January 3, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=em0PZL0_rzM&t=3151s.
8. Forerunners of America.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.