IIn the past few days, a pastor named Dana Coverstone has posted a video on social media. In his 16-minute video, which has now been viewed more than 1.2 million times, he claims to have had several prophetic and revelatory dreams that point to important world events – some of which have been fulfilled and others of which will take place for several months .
In the video, he claims to have heard directly from God. As you can imagine, this has caught the attention of many people. However, in our time when the language “God told me” has become so normative (especially in evangelical circles), it is the striking claims of massive turmoil and catastrophic catastrophe that have reinforced Coverstone’s message and spread it widely.
After receiving several messages about this pandemic prophet, I think it is necessary to explain why he and his message should not be taken seriously.
His message attacks the frugality of writing
Dana Coverstone is not the first person to claim that God spoke to him, and he will not be the last. Moses claimed that God spoke to him from a burning bush (Ex 3: 4-6). Samuel claimed to hear the voice of God in the dark of the night (1 Sam. 3: 1-9). Elijah claimed to hear the voice of God in a cave (1 Kings 19: 9). John the Baptist and others are said to have heard the voice of God at the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1: 9-11). Saul (later Paul) and his fellow travelers claimed to hear God speaking on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 4-7). What is the difference between Coverstone and one of the prophets or apostles?
The timing of the Coverstone message is critical. I am not referring to our current pandemic or the upcoming presidential election in a few months. I am referring to the fact that we have a closed canon. No new revelation from God has been required since the end of the first century when the apostles disappeared into the sunset after the New Testament was completed. To be clear, we already have one.
Every time we have someone who claims to hear messages directly from God, it should make us very skeptical. Consider the words of the London Baptist Confession of 1689. In Chapter 1 and Paragraph 6 we find these words:
All of God’s counsel regarding all things necessary for his own glory, salvation, faith and life is either explicitly stated or necessarily contained in the Scriptures: to which no addition should be made at any time, be it through new revelation of the spirit or traditions of men.
Although we have sufficient guidance on life and worship on the pages of Scripture, it is common for people to claim to speak to God on their verandah or to have revelatory and prophetic dreams in which God speaks audibly directly to them. Unfortunately, evangelicals have spawned a new literary genre known as “heavenly tourism” in recent years, with people claiming to have gone to heaven for a brief encounter to return after a near-death experience and their story to write down in a book. These books sell like hot cakes and eventually become films. The success of this heavenly tourism Books point to a deeper topic within evangelicalism. It shows a lack of trust in the frugality of writing. Isn’t God’s Word Enough for Us?
Dana Coverstone’s message may be attractive to a culture that openly rejects the Bible and is consumed by a love of mysticism fueled by postmodernism, but it is an attack on the frugality of God’s Word.
John MacArthur writes:
Busy with mystical encounters and emotional ecstasy, [many] Seeking constant revelation from heaven – which means that the Bible alone is not enough for them. [With them]The biblical revelation must be supplemented by personal “words of God”, alleged impressions of the Holy Spirit and other subjective religious experiences. This way of thinking is a total rejection of the authority and frugality of Scripture (2 Tim. 3: 16–17). It is a recipe for a far-reaching theological catastrophe. 
His message lacks the authority of a prophet
Dana Coverstone’s message lacks the conviction of a true prophet of God. In fact, he is sometimes contradictory in this video, which is said to contain earth-shattering revelations.
For example, at the very beginning of the video, he makes the bold statement that he thinks these dreams are prophetic (0:31). Within ten seconds, he made the following statement: “I am not claiming to be a prophet” (0:41). Later in the video, after revealing all of his dreams over a seven-month period, he says, “I’m not claiming to be a prophet again … let’s see what happens until November and if I’m right about it” (8: 34). Towards the end of the video, he continues, claiming that his dreams are trustworthy, not because he is a prophet, but because dreams have a prophetic advantage (12:34).
When God calls a prophet to come before the people and make an announcement or deliver a message of revelation, the prophet may have to speak with his own ability or to deal with other personal problems, but eventually he does and does exactly what he is doing what God commanded him to do – with authority. We see this with Moses when he stood before Pharaoh and when Jonah stood before Nineveh. None of these men proclaimed an important message from God and then claimed not to be a prophet. That was never the pattern of the true prophets of God. Consider the scene with Jonah:
Jonah started a day trip to the city. And he cried: Forty days more, and Nineveh will be overthrown!  And the people of Nineveh believed God. They demanded fasting and put on burlap, from the largest to the smallest (Jonah 4: 4-5).
Note that Jonah made a proclamation regarding his prophecy and the people believed God. Jonah spoke to the authority of God when he was sent by God. This is the method and intention of a prophet sent by God.
In the New Testament we find that God sometimes speaks to the apostles and provides revealing information (Acts 10: 13-15; Acts 18: 9-10) – but the overwhelming purpose of God’s direct revelation to his apostles was to complete the New Testament and then the completion of the biblical canon (both OT and NT). In 2 Peter 1:21 we find these words: “For no prophecy was ever made by the will of man, but people spoke of God when they were taken away by the Holy Spirit.” When such prophets spoke, they emphasized their message with “So speaks the Lord God”. Towards the end of his prophetic video, Dana Coverstone claims that you can interpret his dreams the way you want (14:00). So a true prophet never spoke to people in the name of God.
Paul drives home the purpose of Scripture and, in his last letter to Timothy before his martyrdom, deals with the source and frugality of Scripture.
All scriptures are exhaled by God and are useful for teaching, blaming, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God is complete and ready for any good work. In the presence of God and Christ Jesus I ask you to judge the living and the dead, and after his appearance and kingdom: preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; blame, rebuke and admonish, with complete patience and teaching. Because the time is coming when people cannot endure healthy instruction but have itchy ears, they will accumulate for teachers to correspond to their own passions and turn away from listening to the truth and wandering into myths. Always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, do your ministry (2 Timothy 3: 16-4: 5).
Note that even in his last letter to Timothy, he warns that people will not endure healthy instruction, but that they will leave and persecute teachers who will tell them what they want to hear (with itchy ears). Such efforts would lead people to deviate from the truth and devote themselves to myths. Surely we can see that people today are drawn to mystical myths, fascinating prophecies and stories of heavenly tourism while their Bibles collect dust.
Why should we reject Dana Coverstone’s message?
In Judas 3 we find a clear admonition to “fight seriously for the faith that was once given to the saints”. We were warned that false teachers would try to mislead people (2 Peter 2: 1; 1 John 4: 1; Matthew 7:15). His message should be rejected on the grounds that he is attacking the frugality of Scripture and lacking the conviction of a prophet sent by God. There is also another reason to reject Coverstone’s message – one that we have to take seriously.
In his video, Dana Coverstone tells vivid stories about catastrophic disasters that will hit our nation (and then the whole world) by November this year. This is another reason why this video has become so popular that it continues to be distributed on social media. He is using the upcoming presidential election, pandemic and great uncertainty of our nation to position his prophecy on the eschatological timeline of Jesus’ return with the force of an apocalyptic event.
Coverstone has never explicitly stated that his dreams were the revelation of events that took place before the return of Jesus, but he mentions the Antichrist two different times along with a clear reference to the coming of an “olive press moment” for Christians. Such a statement points to the doctrine of the end times (eschatology). He also explained that he believes that the Antichrist (which is different from the lower case “a” Antichrist that we hear about in 1 John) is living on planet Earth right now. Such a statement seems to indicate that Coverstone is warning of the end of time.
If this is true, he joins Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and men like Harold Camping by giving a date for Jesus’ return. Although he doesn’t specify a specific date, he focuses on November 2020. Like all heretical groups and false teachers who contaminate human history, Dana Coverstone appears to join heretics rather than biblical prophets. It must be said that, according to Matthew 24:36, no one knows the day or hour of Jesus’ return.
In the 1200s, Pope Innocent III said. Predicting that the world would end suddenly 666 years after the rise of Islam. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, made various false prophecies. He claimed that Jesus would return before 1891 and also predicted that all nations would be involved in an American civil war. The Watchtower Society for Bible and Tractate (Jehovah’s Witnesses) made predictions about the return of Jesus that proved to be wrong (1914, 1915, 1925, 1935, 1951, 1975, 1986 and 2000). Harold Camping caused hysteria with his many claims that Jesus would return.
- September 6, 1994 – Failed prediction
- September 29, 1994 – Failed prediction
- October 2, 1994 – Failed forecast
- March 31, 1995 – Failed prediction
Harold Camping led a recent campaign with bold predictions that the world would go under on May 21, 2011. I remember that large billboards indicated that the world would go down on that particular day. In April 2011, I was traveling home from a church planting trip to Ecuador with a group of people from our church when we encountered a group of camping fans at Miami Airport. They were dressed in brightly colored shirts and claimed that the end of the world was near. As we all know, the world ended on May 21, 2011.
The apostle’s gift to the local church ended with the death of the last apostle. Along with the apostolic ministry, the miraculous gifts (which were inseparable from the apostles) also ceased. This does not mean that God does not continue to speak to his people because he speaks decisively through his sufficient word. This also does not mean that God has stopped performing miracles because God continues to heal the sick and perform other miracles according to His divine authority. In fact, the miraculous gifts are no longer given to individuals to confirm the service of the gospel, to prove the deity of Jesus, and to finalize the biblical canon. According to B. B. Warfield, the age of miraculous gifts is over. He writes:
The post-Reformation theologians, a very clear group of men, taught with great clarity that the charismata ceased with the apostolic age. 
Dana Coverstone’s message contradicts the teaching of the Reformers, the time of biblical theologians after the Reformation and, above all, the office of the Biblical prophet. We receive biblical warnings that prepare us for the return of Jesus and strengthen God’s people for trials and tribulations. Why do we need a modern dream of a pastor in Kentucky when we have the 66 books of the biblical canon? B. B. Warfield also states:
[Miraculous gifts] were not for the possession of the primitive Christian as such; nor for the matter of the Apostolic Church or the Apostolic Age for yourself; They were clearly the apostles’ authentication. They were part of the testimonies of the apostles as key representatives of God in the foundation of the Church. They thus confirmed their role in making the Apostolic Church distinctive, and they necessarily died with it. 
I conclude with the words of John MacArthur from his book Weird fire::
Dry wells, fruitless trees, raging waves, wandering stars, brutal animals, terrible spots, vomited dogs, mud-loving pigs and starved wolves – this is how the Bible describes false prophets (cf. 2 Peter 2; Judas). The New Testament reserves its toughest words of condemnation for those who would incorrectly claim to be reveling God. And what the Bible condemns, we also have to condemn – with equal strength and power. 
- John MacArthur, Strange fire, (Nashville, Nelson Books, 2013), 218.
- Benjamin B. Warfield, Fake miracles (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1918), 6.
- Ibid., 6.
- MacArthur, Weird fire105.
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