In recent days, a video has been circulating throughout social media by a pastor named Dana Coverstone. In his 16-minute video that has now been viewed more than 1.2 million times, he claims to have had several prophetic and revelatory dreams that point to major world events—some of which have been fulfilled and others that are set to occur in the next 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 day where the “God told me” language has become so normative (especially within evangelical circles) it’s the striking claims of massive turmoil and cataclysmic disaster that has intensified Coverstone’s message and caused it to be widely circulated.
After receiving several messages about this pandemic prophet, I feel that it’s necessary to explain why he and his message must not be taken seriously.
His Message Assaults the Sufficiency of Scripture
Dana Coverstone is not the first person to claim God spoke to him and he will not be the last. Moses claimed God spoke to him from a burning bush (Ex. 3:4-6). Samuel claimed to hear the voice of God in the dark of 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 Jesus’ baptism (Mark 1:9-11). Saul (subsequently Paul) and his traveling companions claimed to hear God speak while traveling on the road leading to Damascus (Acts 9:4-7). What makes Coverstone different than one of the prophets or apostles?
The timing of Coverstone’s message is key. I’m not referring to our present pandemic or the upcoming presidential election just a few months from now. I’m referring to the fact that we have a closed canon. Since the end of the first century when the apostles were fading off into the sunset at the completion of the New Testament—there has been no need for a fresh revelation from God. To be clear, we already have one.
Anytime we have someone claiming to hear messages directly from God, it should cause us to be very skeptical. Consider the words of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. In chapter 1 and paragraph 6 we find these words:
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.
Although we have a sufficient guide to life and worship in the pages of Scripture, it’s a common thing to hear people claiming to talk with God on their back porch or to have revelatory and prophetic dreams where God audibly talks directly with them. In fact, sadly is the case that evangelicals have birthed a new genre of literature in recent years known as “Heavenly Tourism” whereby people claim to have traveled to heaven for a brief encounter only to return after a near death experience to write down their story in a book. These books sell like hotcakes and eventually become movies. The success of these heavenly tourism books points to a deeper issue within evangelicalism. It reveals a lack of confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture. Is God’s Word not enough for us?
The message of Dana Coverstone might be attractive to a culture that openly rejects the Bible and is consumed with a love for mysticism fueled by postmodernism, but it’s an assault upon the sufficiency of God’s Word.
John MacArthur writes:
Preoccupied with mystical encounters and emotional ecstasies, [many] seek ongoing revelation from heaven – meaning that, for them, the Bible alone is simply not enough. [With them], biblical revelation must be supplemented with personal “words from God,” supposed impressions from the Holy Spirit, and other subjective religious experiences. That kind of thinking is an outright rejection of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16–17). It is a recipe for far-reaching theological disaster. 
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 self-contradictory at times throughout this video that is said to contain earth shaking revelations.
For instance, at the very beginning of the video, he makes the bold claim that he believes these dreams are prophetic (0:31). Within ten seconds, he makes the following statement, “I do not claim to be a prophet by any means” (0:41). Later in the video after revealing all of his dreams spanning a period of seven months, he says, “Once again, I am not claiming to be a prophet…let’s see what happens through November and see if I’m right about this” (8:34). He goes on again near the end of the video and makes the claim that his dreams are trustworthy, not because he’s a prophet, but because dreams have a prophetic edge (12:34).
When God calls a prophet to go and stand before the people and make an announcement or deliver a revelatory message, it might be that the prophet struggles with his own ability to speak or other personal issues, but eventually he goes and does precisely what God commanded him to do—with authority. We see this with Moses as he stood before Pharaoh and when Jonah stood before Nineveh. Neither of these men announced an important message from God and then claimed to not be a prophet. That was never the pattern of the true prophets of God. Consider the scene with Jonah:
Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”  And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them (Jonah 4:4-5).
Notice that Jonah made a proclamation regarding his prophecy, and the people believed God. Jonah spoke with the authority of God as he was sent by God. This is the method and intent of a prophet sent from God.
In the New Testament, we find God speaking to the apostles and providing revelatory information at times (Acts 10:13-15; Acts 18:9-10)—but the overwhelming purpose of God’s direct revelation to his apostles was centered on the completion of the New Testament and subsequently the finalization of the biblical canon (both the OT and NT). In 2 Peter 1:21 we find these words, “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” When such prophets spoke, they accented their message with “Thus says the LORD God.” Dana Coverstone claims near the end of his prophetic video that you can interpret his dreams however you want (14:00) which is never the way a true prophet addressed people on behalf of God.
Paul drives home the purpose of Scripture and drills down on the source and sufficiency of Scripture in his final letter to Timothy prior to his martyrdom.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Timothy 3:16-4:5).
Notice that even in his final letter to Timothy, he warns that people would not endure sound teaching, but they would leave and pursue teachers who would tell them what they wanted to hear (having itching ears). Such pursuits would lead people to wander off from the truth and give themselves over to myths. Certainly we can see that today people are attracted to mystical myths, intriguing prophecies, and stories of heavenly tourism while their Bibles collect dust.
Why Should We Reject Dana Coverstone’s Message?
In Jude 3, we find a clear exhortation to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.” We have been warned that false teachers would seek to lead people astray (2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; Matthew 7:15). His message should be rejected on the basis that he assaults the sufficiency of Scripture and on the basis that he lacks the conviction of a prophet sent by God. Furthermore, there’s another reason to reject Coverstone’s message—one that we must take seriously.
In his video, Dana Coverstone provides vivid tales of catastrophic disaster that will come upon our nation (and subsequently the entire world) by November of this year. Once again, this is one reason why this video has gained such great popularity as it continues to circulate through social media. He uses the upcoming presidential election, the pandemic, and the great uncertainty of our nation to posture his prophecy with the force of an apocalyptic event on the eschatological timeline of Jesus’ return.
Coverstone never stated explicitly that his dreams were the revelation of events that predate 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 end times (eschatology). He likewise stated that he believes the Antichrist (which is different than the lowercase “a” antichrists that we hear about in 1 John) is alive on planet earth at this moment. Such a statement seems to indicate that Coverstone is warning about the end of time.
If this is indeed true, he aligns himself with the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and men like Harold Camping by naming a date regarding Jesus’ return. While he doesn’t give a specific date, he does put emphasis upon November of 2020. Like all of the heretical groups and false teachers who litter the history of humanity—it seems that Dana Coverstone is aligning himself with heretics rather than biblical prophets. It must be stated that according to Matthew 24:36, no one knows the day or hour of Jesus’ return.
In the 1200s, Pope Innocent III predicted that the world would come to an abrupt end 666 years after the rise of Islam. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion made several different false prophecies. He claimed Jesus would return before 1891 and he likewise predicted that all nations would be involved in an American Civil War. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) made predictions of Jesus’ return that proved to be false (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 prediction
- March 31 1995 – failed prediction
Harold Camping led one final campaign with bold predictions that the world would come to an end on May 21st 2011. I recall seeing large billboards indicating that the world would end on that particular day. In April of 2011, I was traveling with a group of people from our church on our way home from a church planting trip to Ecuador when we came across a group of Camping followers in the Miami airport. They were dressed in bright colored shirts claiming the end of the world was near. As we all know, the end of the world didn’t happen on May 21st 2011.
The gift of the Apostle to the local church ceased upon the death of the last of the Apostles. Along with the Apostolic office, the miraculous gifts (which were inextricably connected to the Apostles) have likewise ceased. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t continue to speak to his people, because he speaks authoritatively through his sufficient Word. Nor does this mean that God has ceased to perform miracles, because God continues to heal the sick and perform other miracles in accordance with his divine authority. The fact is, the miraculous gifts are no longer given to individuals as a means of validating the gospel ministry, proving the deity of Jesus, and finalizing the biblical canon. According to B.B. Warfield, the age of the miraculous gifts has passed. He writes:
The theologians of the post-Reformation era, a very clear-headed body of men, taught with great distinctness that the charismata ceased with the Apostolic age. 
Dana Coverstone’s message is inconsistent with the teaching of the Reformers, the post-Reformation era of biblical theologians, and most importantly—the office of the biblical prophet. We are given Scriptural warnings that prepare us for Jesus’ return and strengthen God’s people for trials and tribulation. Why would we need a modern dream from a pastor in Kentucky if we have the 66 books of the biblical canon? B.B. Warfield likewise states the following:
[Miraculous gifts] were not for the possession of the primitive Christian as such; nor for that matter of the Apostolic Church or the Apostolic age for themselves; they were distinctively the authentication of the Apostles. They were part of the credentials of the apostles as the authoritative agents of God in founding the church. Their function thus confirmed them to distinctively the Apostolic Church, and they necessarily passed away with it. 
I conclude with the words of John MacArthur from his book Strange Fire:
Dry wells, fruitless trees, raging waves, wandering stars, brute beasts, hideous stains, vomit-eating dogs, mud-loving pigs, and ravenous wolves—that is how the Bible describes false prophets (cf. 2 Peter 2; Jude). The New Testament reserves its harshest words of condemnation for those who would falsely claim to speak revelation from God. And what the Bible condemns, we must also condemn—doing so with equal vigor and force. 
- John MacArthur, Strange Fire, (Nashville, Nelson Books, 2013), 218.
- Benjamin B. Warfield, Counterfeit Miracles (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1918), 6.
- Ibid., 6.
- MacArthur, Strange Fire, 105.
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