Valley of Dry Bones : Addressing Eschatology of Perry Stone
Perry Stone is loved by many Pentecostals. This is partly because he “preaches good” and partly because he feeds them their daily dose of governmental conspiracy. However, when he is not trying to convince Pentecostals that the government is out to get us, he is either talking about theology or selling his latest book.
However, the greatest struggle I have with him is over theology. There are several issues with Voice of Evangelism and Mannafest that need to be discussed but I want to focus on one of them that has major applications when you consider what this means for the end time harvest in what theologians call eschatology.
There is no question if he is a solid believer or a classic Pentecostal. He is a ordained Bishop in the Church of God (Cleveland, Tn) for good reasons. He is a great preacher and he does attempt to have a scholarly understanding of eschatology. However, the quest to explain everything in biblical prophecy is the beginning of error for Perry Stone.
While I disagree with some of his teaching concerning the importance of the Holy Land (one of them is what we are talking about today), I do not believe he is teaching replacement theology in any way. If he was, I would confront that very public. Replacement theology is straight from the pits of hell!
Perry Stone and Ezekiel 37
There is two concerns here (if not more). One of them is about what this misunderstanding means in light of eschatology. The other concern is merely about Hermeneutics. I want to be very clear on this: Perry Stone is misunderstanding the biblical prophecy of the Valley of Dry Bones.
Before we get too far into this, what does he teach on the text? According to every message I have heard about it from his ministry, he firmly hold that this was fulfilled in 1948 when the Israelites became the nation of Israel again. This is firmly not considering all the prophecies about the end times. What happened in May 1948 is what the scripture call types and shadow. It was a foretaste of a coming event.
Several years ago, I was able to sit down at a round table of prophetic leaders and heard Art Katz present on this text. If you do not know who he is, Art was a Jewish prophet in modern times that had connection to Kathlyn Kulnman and more recently Benny Hinn. Art contended that this passage is the mass return of Jewish people to the Holy Land at the end of the Age (He is Post-Trib) or what Pentecostal understand to be the times of testing or Tribulation.
My understanding of the text in light of all the biblical prophecy to consider is that it is clearly about what we call the great end time harvest that is prior to the catching up of the saints as the final foretaste of its’ ultimate and final fulfillment in the times of testing.
To be blunt about this: the Valley of Dry Bones is about a Messianic revival between the catching of the saints and the Second Coming that provokes people of Jewish heritage to return to the Holy Land.
Importance of proper Hermeneutics
I understand how he came to the position of believe that what happen in 1948 is the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. I also understand that interpreting every scripture to have something to do with the formation of Israel is very popular among these biblical prophecy ministries. Sadly, one reason for this is they seem to have a pre-position of doom and gloom (that Azusa Report fully and completely rejects in the strongest of terms)
Much of the prophecy in the scripture, especially in the minor prophets, points to three different realities: a comptempary understanding, fulfillment in the New Testament, and many times a fulfillment at towards the end of the Church age. Believe it or not, Haggai did not have Azusa Street in mind when he said the glory of the latter house will be greater than the glory of the former!
What I am saying is it that is very important for us to understand what the prophet that spoke the prophecy was seeing when he said what he said. Zephaniah was mainly concerned about the corruption in Judah when he declared what we read about. He did not have Barack Obama or Donald Trump is his mind. It is critical that we understand that he was deeply broken over what was happening in his day.
Bible prophecy got crazy
The problem I see with people like Perry Stone, Hal Lindsey, Robert Jeffress and Ravi Zacharias is they have to come up with something that is popular so they can sell their messages and books. As sad as it is, many ministries are being driven by secular forms of marketing. Because of this, putting everything in prophecy on the events surrounding the formation of the Jewish State is very popular.
I have seen people take the words of the prophets in the Old Testament completely of the cultural context that the prophets lived in to explain it away to somehow convict people it was about Truman fighting for the people of Israel. Selling a book seems to be more important than Hermeneutics to some of these ministries.
As far as Perry Stone goes, I am completely convinced that his fixation with pointing all prophecy to these events is about marketing the Holy Land tours he does every few months. I have noticed that he goes full blown on biblical prophecy right before he tells his viewer about the next tour to Israel!
If him or any of these other prophecy teachers said that Valley of Dry Bones points to a futuristic revival after the catching up of the saints; those downloads for that message would tank. It would be like putting out a book about the Millennial reign. No one would be interested and no one would buy it.
Am I saying that all these prophecy ministries are being driven by books sales and secular marketing scams like Rod Parsley’s resurcution seed nonsense? Yes, I am completely and utterly convinced that many ministries are more concerned with what preaches good at General Council than what is biblical faithful.
Many years ago, I was in a prayer meeting in Kansas City where the following song, Beathe Prophesy came forth. It was later recorded and made into a dramatic presentation by Karen Wheaton and Chosen.