The Bible is full of secrets. Some of the secrets are meant to be told and some are meant to remain hidden until another time. Scripture tells us that Jesus often kept things to himself, knowing peoples’ hearts and so knowing that some of his followers weren’t ready to hear God’s secrets. In John’s gospel, Jesus states openly that he has much to tell his followers, but they aren’t ready to hear it yet. He promises them that when the time is right and they’re ready, God’s Holy Spirit will tell them.
The Pharisees and other legalists of the 21st century are not big on secrets. They contend that if it’s not blatantly written in the Bible, it’s false prophecy. Yet the Bible contradicts this stand not only in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament. For instance, in Daniel, we’re told that God’s Word will remain “closed up and sealed” until “the time of the end”, after which it will be fully released. Jesus tells us that what is whispered in the ear will be shouted on the rooftops. Secrets, too, have an expiry date.
But we need to be careful in telling God’s secrets so as not to throw our pearls before swine. If God tells you something and says not to tell anyone else, don’t you dare tell anyone else, not your closest friend, not even your diary. Keep it between you and God, because chances are that what God told you is actually a test, and God wants to see if you can be trusted with keeping his Word. Jesus also tested his followers to see if they could keep God’s secrets, but they failed miserably. Sometimes I think that Jesus told them things and then told them not to tell anyone just so that they would tell everyone (reverse psychology). But still, a failed test is a failed test. If you demonstrate to God that he can’t trust you with his secrets, he won’t tell you any, and your relationship with him will suffer.
Which brings me to so-called YouTube prophets. We have a virtual epidemic on our hands these days, and it has nothing to do with a virus. So many people claim to be “hearing from God”, mostly with messages of imminent doom and/or an imminent global Christian revival and/or the imminent return of Jesus. Amidst all this prophesying, none of the “prophets” or their audience appears to be ‘testing the spirits’, as Paul advised us. We need to test the spirits always; God will test us by allowing spirits other than his to whisper in our ear to see if we know the difference between him and demons. YouTube prophecies are a massive test of spiritual gullibility, and many people who consider themselves mature Christians are falling for it.
With very rare exceptions, most self-proclaimed Christians with YouTube channels are false prophets. This doesn’t mean that they are purposely spreading lies; it just means they’ve been deceived and are now deceiving others under the guise of preaching God’s Word. God mentions several times in scripture about prophets who claim to be sent by him, but aren’t. In today’s terms, he’s talking about most YouTube prophets as well as most Christian blog prophets, televangelists, and professional preachers at mainstream churches, to name a few.
Here’s the crux of the problem – God calls people (he is always calling people and will continue to call people until the Age of Mercy is up), and they take God calling them as a sign that they need to start preaching God’s Word. But they aren’t ready yet to preach God’s Word; they need to grow and mature (and fall down and get back up again, and fall down and get back up again, etc.) before they are ready to take the preaching helm. Twelve-year-old Jesus was leaps and bounds ahead of the temple elders in his knowledge both of scripture and of God, but he wasn’t ready to preach; it wasn’t his time. He had to keep God’s secrets to himself until his time had come.
And that’s what it boils down to – secrets are to be kept secret until the time is right. Just because you know something doesn’t mean that it’s the right time to tell it. Jesus’ mother kept all the things said to her about Jesus (when he was a baby) locked up in her heart; she didn’t tell anyone until much later, after she had become a follower of her son.
God tells me secrets all the time, as I’m sure he tells you. Like a little excited kid, I used to blab some of them, but I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and to test the spirits. If God tells me something to tell others, I do; if he tells me not to tell, I don’t. When I listen to YouTube prophets on occasion and hear them pouring out painfully intimate details about their lives, I can’t help but think that they’re revealing too many secrets that God never intended them to reveal. Prophecy is not about knowing the future or pouring out everything we know, but about telling God’s Truth in God’s time, as a follower of Jesus. So if God tells you “Shhhhh!!!!”, you’d better Shhhhh.