The Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj “prophecy” regarding the Philippines (where he described shocking curses that God would rain down on the Philippines) keeps morphing. Given in April 2013 at the 24th National Prayer Gathering at Cuneta Astrodome, the predictions have become viral as being fulfilled by Typhoon Yolanda (aka Haiyan) and some blogger posts alleging diseases in the Philippines. I posted a review of a previous version of the “prophecy.” Since this is a longer version, I will give a more detailed review. I am hoping the one I am using for this blogpost comes closer to the original. The following is the list of predictions based on the blog www.localpulse.net/technology/prophecy-sadhu-sundar-selvaraj-pangasinan-philippines-goes-viral-207/
I will give a letter grade for each “prophetic” utterance based on the best of my knowledge in December 2013. I will use the following criteria:
Grade “A”: Prediction appears to have been fulfilled in an accurate way.
Grade “B”: Prediction appears to have been fulfilled in a general way.
Grade “C”: Prediction has not been fulfilled partly but in a far lesser way.
Grade “D”: Prediction has not been fulfilled yet as far as can be reasonablly ascertained.
Grade “N”: Prediction is not really predictive. For example, predicting that it will rain in 2014 may prove true, but it demonstrates no special ability to predict/prophecy.
1. Compostela and Tagum. Typhoon, foundations shaken, people scattered. big lesson to the rest of the world. Grade “D”. Hasn’t happened yet. Flooding happened a couple of years ago in this area, but presumably, the prophecy wasn’t for the past.
2. Samar and Leyte: Big typhoon against “6 lands.” Disasters through floods. Grade B. This one comes the closest to having been fulfilled. There was a big typhoon. However, very little of the damage (and very little of Samar and Leyte) came from flooding. Even if one views storm surge as flooding (perhaps a reasonable assumption), storm surge was fairly limited. Some might feel that Grade B is low. Perhaps one could justify a B+, but since most of Samar and Leyte was damaged by winds not flooding (except in Tacloban and a bit elsewhere), the prediction was a bit weak. You decide.
3. Palawan: Great flood and great typhoon. Many will die. Great grievous death. Grade C. Typhoon did hit the northern end of Palawan, especially the islands at the north end of Palawan province. Flooding and greivous death did not happen… yet. Since the prophecy did not really happen as described, perhaps a Grade D would be more appropriate… but I will allow for considerable hyperbole here. Again, you decide.
4. Pangasinan and Cebu: Grievous disease (flesh eating) will become an epidemic and spread to Cebu from there. It will become pandemic (spread all over the world and create much fear). Grade D. Hasn’t happened. Lots of diseases of all types in Pangasinan and elsewhere (I remember quite a few cases of leptospirosis sprang up after Typhoon Pepeng in 2009) but nothing as here described. At least not yet.
5. Bohol and Cebu: A different disease (apparently) will spring from Bohol and Cebu. Turns people’s skin black and make their bodies burst open. Will spread wildly and spread to many other countries. People will be afraid to bury the dead. Grade D. Hasn’t happened.
6. Luzon and Cebu: Floods and winds like never seen before will hit Luzon and Cebu. Loss of all irrigable lands. Massive begging and starving. Grade D. I could have given this a Grade N as not being predictive. After all floods and winds are normal to most of the Philippines including Luzon and Cebu Islands. Begging is fairly common and starving does happen on occasion. Irrigable lands do at times cease to produce crops. But the phrase “like never seen before” clearly limits this prediction greatly. Loss of all irrigable lands limits it far further. Neither Luzon nor Cebu have suffered anything like what is here described… at least not yet
7. 70 Islands. 70 islands will cease to be, overwhelmed by the ocean. Grade N. Unfortunately, this statement has no predictive value. The number of islands in the Philippines does change as some rise up and some go underwater by erosion or other means. Since there is no timeframe, there is no way to call this a prediction. Presumably if one tracks things long enough, 70 islands could be identified that lose their status as islands.
8. Coastal Cities. Coastal Cities will be flooded. Many people will lose property. “Many people will fade away in sunlight and land” (what does that mean?). Grade B. In a few limited spots damage as described here could be said to have happened. Obviously, in Tacloban. Hard to come up with another place that has the designation “city.”
a. “Earthquakes will come in your land.” Grade N. Pacific Ring of Fire… the Philippines always has earthquakes. No timeframe, frequency, or magnitude given. It is not predictive.
b. “Volcanoes will erupt in many places.” Grade N. Ring of Fire again. The Philippines has regular eruptions. No timeframe, frequency or magnitude given. It is not predictive.
c. “There will be cries and troubles in the land.” Grade N. Not enough information to have any predictive value.
d. “Your young people will become captive. The hunters and the captors will increase in your land.” Grade N. Not at all clear what is meant here. Human traffickers perhaps? If so, too late. They have been here as long as the Philippines has been around. The wording is too vague to provide a metric.
e. “Wicked people will walk on the streets in your land. They will kill many people in broad daylight and throw their bodies in the streets.” Overall, I would give this a Grade D. Certainly there are wicked people walking the streets, but that is true everywhere on earth. As far as killing and throwing bodies in the streets. Generally, this is not the case. Occasional troubles in Mindanao approach this… rarely, but doesn’t seem to be more so since the prophecy was made. Just have to wait on that one.
f. “There will even come a dangerous time when people will kill each other for food.” Grade N. Killing for food is no new thing. Perhaps this is describing some systematic increase in this behavior… but not enough information is given.
g. “The Lord says many buildings will catch fire. God will set many buildings with fire and shakenings.” I guess I would have to give this a Grade D. Some village burnings around Zamboanga… but these were human caused while the prophecy says that God will set the buildings ablaze. Guess we will have to wait on this one.
h. “God will cause dangers to come through lightnings and thunders.” Grade D. No major increase in lightning-caused damage that I know of. Not even sure what dangers are being suggested here by thunders.
i. “Many people will be drowned. Maybe you have faced many times such dangers, but these coming dangers will be great in the eyes of the world.” Hmmm…. this one is a tough one. Major flooding is common in the Philippines and often does get world attention. In the 10 years I have been here, this has happened several times. I am tempted to say this has no predictive value, but maybe I should be generous. I will give it a Grade A. Many did drown, after all.
j. “Hundreds and thousands of people will be scattered.” Again, not very predictive, but I will seek to be consistent and give it a Grade A.
k. “Many houses will be ravaged.” Like i and j… not very predictive, but I will still give it a Grade A.
l. “Many people will be refugees in their own land.” Since I have been generous on the last three, I will give this a Grade B. Putting people into evacuation centers for a few days to a few weeks does not really reach the designation of “refugee.” The number of long-term evacuees looks like will be rather small. I think “B” is more than fair.
m. “A very pitiful state will come upon you when you will have to depend on other people to help you.” I am feeling generous again. I will give this a Grade A. The pitiful state is more due to governmental incompetence than national capacity… but the prophecy is too vague to attack it for that reason.
n. “Children will die of hunger, of pain and of waters. Many children’s bodies will be thrown in the streets.” Hmmm… what should I do with this one. Really vague… children dying. Some have. Thrown in the streets? Not really. Unless something changes, I probably can give no better than a Grade C.
o. “Many areas will become muddy and swampy.” Come on, this is the Philippines. Of course places will become muddy and swampy. Like saying it will rain sometimes and sometimes be sunny. Grade N.
p. “The Lord says your rivers will come upon the land.” Not since the prophecy, but of course, rivers overlowing their banks are common (in places like Pampanga… expected). This has no predictive value. Grade N.
So I counted 24 predictions. Let’s see how they add up.
Grade A. Occurrences fit the prediction. 4
Grade B. Occurrences fit in general way. 3
Grade C. Occurrences fit in a limited fashion. 2
Grade D. Occurences don’t fit predictions so far. 7
Grade N. No predictive value. 8
So what are the conclusions? Not much. The strongest arguments for fulfilment are actually the Grade B predictions. The Grade A predictions may have been relatively accurate but they have low predictive value. Major devastation from typhoons comes every few years. Our group has dealt with Tropical Storm Ondoy, Typhoon Pepeng, and Typhoon Sendong, all 2009 and beyond. The Grade A predictions would almost have to become fulfilled if one waited long enough. Grade C predictions are just too weak to take particularly seriously.
So what about an overall grade? For the Grade B predictions I will give 100% weighting. Sounds odd, but they were the best ones even if they weren’t detailed enough to be particularly compelling. I will give 50% weighting to Grade A predictions. Their predictive value is low, but could be viewed as essentially accurate. Grade C predictions? I will give 33% weighting. I guess I am feeling generous. I will give 0% weighting to Grade D predictions. Haven’t happened… don’t know if they will ever happen. I will throw out all Grade N predictions. They have no value to anyone.
What do we get when we do this? 5-2/3 out of 16. That is 35%. I realize I am being generous… but it is less than a year from the predictions. Ten years from now, one should be able to make a much better judgment. The longer range view should help. If the prophecies are true, the percentage should increase dramatically. If they are false, and the self-described prophet proves false, the number should range between perhaps 20% and 50%.
Certainly way to early to take seriously now. I still say, we need to go back to the Bible… not to people who tickle and terrorize the ears.
NOTE: Why am I reviewing alleged prophecies on a blogsite about missions? Because people are using these prophecies “missiologically.” They are trying to argue that events verify the prophecy, that the prophecy verifies the prophet, and that the prophet verifies the message of the prophet. I am not in a position to judge the “prophet” but I think we all are in a position judge the alleged prophecy. The Bible makes it very clear that we should expect numerous (not just one) anti-Christs. We should “test the spirits.” We should have the ability to study the words of ministers in the light of Scripture. We should challenge self-described prophets and root out what is false. I would assume that any true servant of God would value and welcome such Spirit-led caution on our parts.
- Prophecies and Typhoons and Plagues (in no particular order) (munsonmissions.org)
- Quote of William James, and the Search for the Divine (munsonmissions.org)
- The world helps the Philippines recover after Typhoon Haiyan (heroesofyolanda.wordpress.com)