The year was 2001. The United States had just started bombing Afghanistan post-9/11. Hardly anyone was traveling internationally for fun, but I found myself in a small, urban church in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, lit that October night by a single dangling bulb. I was there with members of my Dallas church for a series of Pentecostal revival services.
The Nigerian church’s pastor, a man named Chidi Nwachukwu, spoke a prophecy to his congregation and handful of American visitors: After the Bush years, he said, America would have a black president. Colin Powell? I thought. Condoleezza Rice? The nation’s most prominent black leaders flashed before my eyes. I was accustomed to prophetic “words,” having been part of Pentecostal-charismatic churches for more than a decade, but this one seemed particularly daring.
At the time, none of us had heard of an obscure Illinois state senator named Barack Obama. The rest, of course, is history. But my experience in Nigeria so many years ago keeps me from summarily dismissing the prophetic declarations I hear concerning major events such as presidential elections. Which brings me to this highly unusual election cycle, and the proliferation of prophetic words concerning Donald Trump.
A number of such words have gained currency in Pentecostal-charismatic circles — more than I can ever recall concerning a presidential contest — and the two most intriguing can be found online in Charisma magazine. The first is by an Australian evangelist named Lana Vawser, and she published it on her website on October 11, 2015, long before Trump was viewed as the Republican frontrunner. Charisma republished it on October 18.
“I had a dream recently,” Vawser wrote, “where I was in a political arena and I saw Donald Trump, and he was passionately putting forward his policies. In this dream I could not ‘hear’ what he was saying, I just remember him speaking with great passion.
“Suddenly, I was lifted above the United States of America, and I saw the nation as if I was looking at a map. Written across the United States of America was the word ‘TRUMP’ in big letters.
“As I looked at this word, suddenly the letters began to rearrange, and the word went from ‘TRUMP’ to ‘TRIUMPH.’ I then heard the Lord speak loudly in my dream: ‘TRUMP SHALL LEAD THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA INTO TRIUMPH!!!’
“As I was waking up out of the dream, I heard the words, ‘TRUMP SHALL LEAD THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA INTO VICTORY!’”
Now, some explanatory words are in order. First, you’d be forgiven if you let out a sarcastic sniff when you read the words “putting forth his policies,” because I’m not sure there were any back in October 2015. That aside, let’s look at a few things that add credibility to Vawser’s statement.
As she notes in a preface to her dream, she has no political agenda, nor any desire to sway anyone’s political views. Vawser is a minister based in Brisbane, Australia, who travels and speaks worldwide, and I believe her claim that she has no ax to grind. None of her other published “words,” in fact, appear to have anything to do with politics.
Dreams, by the way, are a common vehicle for prophetic words, in ancient days and now, amid a worldwide revival of the Biblical “gift” of prophecy that started roughly in the 1990s. There are many such dreams recorded in the Bible, and they tend to be elliptical and symbolic. The book of Job puts it this way: “He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds.” Only a few of Vawser’s prophetic words, which she circulates on her website and in an email newsletter, originate in dreams.
Let’s give this to Lana Vawser: She foresaw the rise of Donald Trump before others did. Charisma, in fact, put a disclaimer at the end of her dream post: “The opinions of this writer do not necessarily reflect those of Charisma Media.” At the time, Charisma publisher Stephen Strang was actively editorializing in favor of fellow evangelical Ted Cruz.
I also don’t think Vawser is looking for publicity based on her Trump dream. I contacted her to request an interview, and initially she agreed to speak. A few days later, she wrote in a text that she’d consulted her “mentor,” and “after much discussion, I decided right now considering the extreme sensitivity and increasing friction around the U.S. election that it is probably better I don’t do this interview.”
Vawser’s post of the dream on her website garnered some vituperative responses, enough that she quickly posted an addendum: “Many have interpreted this dream as the Lord telling me that Donald Trump would be the next president. I have not said that, but I do believe the Lord IS using Donald Trump in this season.”
If you want to hear more, you can catch Vawser when she speaks at Dallas’s Storehouse church on Thursday at 7 p.m., at The Presence Church in Farmers Branch Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and at DeSoto’s Metro Fellowship Monday at 7 p.m. Then she’s off to other states.
More recently, another, more complex prophetic Trump prophecy has been featured on Christian television and radio, as well as Charisma magazine. It comes from a man named Mark Taylor, evidently a former Orlando Fire Department lieutenant, who says he received the “word” in 2011 after watching a television interview with Trump. He relays it in classic prophetic-speak:
“The Spirit of God says, I have chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this. For as Benjamin Netanyahu is to Israel, so shall this man be to the United States of America! For I will use this man to bring honor, respect, and restoration to America. America will be respected once again as the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth…
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“The Spirit of God says, the enemy will quake and shake and fear this man I have anointed…for this man will be fearless…”
The prophetic word is much longer; you can read it here and view it on YouTube. When Trump, who was toying with a run for president in 2012, ultimately declined to enter that race, Taylor has said that he put his prophecy on the shelf for several years, thinking he’d just missed it. Now his resurrected word is causing a stir. (Taylor didn’t respond to a request for an interview.)
Mind you, Taylor seems to be immersed in End-Times theology of a distinct right-wing and pro-Israel hue, including the belief that our current government is hopelessly corrupt. In a lengthy radio interview, he didn’t mince words about Trump: He believes he will absolutely get elected. But he sounded a more positive note than most End-Timers — that with Trump in office, “America’s best days are ahead of her.”
Taylor adds, “It’s not my job to tell people who to vote for, you know, God gives everyone their own free will. All I’m telling you is who God has anointed for this hour.”
And that final point is one that is perhaps unique to Pentecostal-charismatic Christians. They believe that God can choose an individual as a “vessel” for his own cosmic purposes, in spite of his or her character flaws. These evangelicals aren’t ignorant of Trump’s deficiencies as a candidate and see through his attempts to position himself as one of their own (though evangelical icon James Dobson claimed last month that Trump has had a born-again experience). Some of them have simply reached the conclusion that he is God’s chosen one for a tumultuous time.