During my childhood, TPM sisters used to hand over few sketch pens and a bunch of rectangularly cut papers to us on December 31st morning. We were supposed to write one bible verse on each rectangular paper and decorate it by drawing small flowers on it. These handmade bible bookmarks were then distributed to the believers during the watch night service as promise verse for New Year. In contemporary times they distribute machine printed bookmark as New Year promise cards instead of the handmade ones. Continue reading to know more about TPM Promise Cards
Once the meeting is over, there is this curious showing of promises to others and some scramble to get a different verse because their promissory verse was not very promising.
The most wretched state is of that person who thinks that God is especially promising him/her for this New Year. Their blindness never ceases to exist.
History of the Promise Card
This practice of giving one promise verse to every member of the body of Christ seems fairly new (20th century) practice. The remotest history I could connect was “Holy Cards” or “prayer cards.” These were the Catholic version of what we call as bible cards.
There is no tradition of them being given on the new year, but they were similar in form to contemporary promise cards. Holy Cards had a picture of a saint, or Mary or an angel on them and a small prayer written on its backside. This tradition of Holy Card was probably replaced by Protestants latter. Protestants started using biblical texts instead of the picture of Mary/saints. Thus the only possible connection of contemporary bible cards with history is Holy Cards. This happened around 1400 A D. One interesting invention during the same time, is the Tarot card. Tarot cards like the Holy Card had Christian imagery in the earlier period of its existence. They were initially used for playing games and not for fortune telling. So it appears that the tarot card and holy card had the same beginning. Both began in around 1400 AD. And both have transformed into means of fortune telling. Both had pictures of Catholic saints and Catholic imagery printed on them. One remains as Tarot Card and other has become Christian version known as Promise card. However, its history beyond AD 1400 is missing. Bible has no such record mentioned in its pages. We don’t have any event recorded where Jesus stood before his disciples having 12 cards displayed in front of his disciples, asking them to pick one promise. It, therefore, seems that god of TPM started this practice in the 1900s of which he had no idea before that time to give one comforting promise to each member of his church for a forthcoming year.
TPM believers assume that God is giving each believer a personal promise for New Year. The problem with this mindset is that this makes scriptures revolve around “self of man.” It destroys the basic fundamental intention of God in giving scriptures – which is to make man crucify to its “self.” It makes scriptures man-centric instead of it being Christ-centric and God-glorifying. TPM believers assume God is in the business of customizing meanings of scripture according to the condition and need of believer. And one reason for this is a human act of dividing scriptures into chapters and verses for their own convenience. Do you know those original manuscripts of biblical books were never divided into chapters, verses until the 15th century? Modern division of scriptures into verses has paved in the way for people to isolate a part of the text from the entire paragraph, by use of identification number (chapter/verses). This has made possible for what we call “taking scriptures out of context.” Had there been no division into chapters and verses, there would have been no isolation of any statement from entire passage and then people would have not taken a particular statement of scripture out of context of the entire passage. If so each Bible book would have been one book. Yes! it would make lazy people read the entire book instead of one chapter or one verse, but it would have saved us from committing the blunder of customizing scriptural meaning according to our own understanding and imagination.
“Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit (Ezekiel 13:3)…,
Common TPM Tarot Cards
Before we end our conversation on “New Year Promise Verse” we will meditate on few scriptures which we all have been repetitively hearing in TPM as New Year promises.
- The first verse which is very common in TPM is Isaiah 45:3. I will give you treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places. Almost all of us might have received this verse as New Year promise in TPM. TPM people normally think this is God’s promise to bless them with riches. They become so happy assuming God has promised them to materially bless them this year. This verse originally was meant for Cyrus the king of Persia. This was prophesied some 150 years before Babylon attacked Israel and led them captive. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had accumulated treasures from all over the world. This treasure was then captured by King Cyrus when the Babylonian kingdom was taken from Nebuchadnezzar’s son Belshazzar (Daniel 5) and given to Median Persian Empire. It was about this treasure (accumulated by Nebuchadnezzar and captured by Mede-Persian empire) the verse in Isaiah 45:3 speaks about. It is said by scholars that these treasures were subjected to King Cyrus by God, for the building of Temple in Israel (See Ezra 1:1, Isaiah 45:5). The next verse says “For my servant Jacob’s sake…” Thus the reason why Cyrus was given “treasures of darkness” was for sake of Jacob (Israel) to build the temple. This is the original background context of Isaiah 45:3. TPM believers do not know this background. They read Isaiah 45:3 and imagine God is speaking to them about handing them hidden riches of secret places. If we try to perceive spiritually angle, it is Christ who is building his church the temple of God. He is our wisdom. Hidden mysteries about God’s plan were made known to Apostles, via Jesus Christ to his apostles (compare Col 1:26, Eph 3:5, Mat 13:44,52).
- Another repetitive common promise of New Year is “Behold, I will make all things new.” Reading this verse people think God has promised of removing problems of poverty, sickness etc in coming to New Year. He will make all things new in New Year! And they get so excited. However, this verse is spoken in the context of renewing the entire creation of God. It is found in the 21st chapter of Revelation. It gives us hope that old creation in which we find death and sin in this world, because of Adam’s disobedience, will be gone. God will renew his creation. But the carnal mind of TPM believers thinks God will make their problems vanish in coming to New Year. May God give them eyes to see scriptures as they are!
- Another verse which we often find distributed in TPM is Isaiah 40:4, which says “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight and rough places plain.” Again people take this literally. They assume God has promised to remove hindrances in their life. Life will be eased out. In my old TPM mindset, I got this verse as promise verse during my 12th standard days. I thought God fulfilled this promise in my life by making me get admission to engineering college. I thought hindrances of iron gates and mountain like difficulty hindering me from getting entry to engineering. This is the story of most TPM believers. We associate our carnal life with spiritually Christ focused scriptures. The phrase “exalting valley and bringing mountain low” means bringing everyone on the same level. It means justice. It means those who are haughty and proud will be brought to knees. It means he will raise humble poor souls. It promised what justice Messiah will do. And it was fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus. High minded Pharisees who despised others as unholy, sinners and Gentiles were brought low. Sinners like Matthew the publican and sinner woman who broke her alabaster box were exalted by Christ. This was the justice of the Gospel, which was the Glory of God revealed through Jesus – the fulfillment of Isaiah 40. Isaiah 40 is soteriological in nature. It speaks of Glory of God which is Jesus (the express image of the father) being revealed to the world, and all flesh saw him (Isaiah 40:5). Isaiah 40 does not mean that God will make your and my earthly problems of job, health, marriage to be simplified. This is why we say that TPM believers are carnal! How could God’s glory in this verse be converted to give carnal promise to TPM believer?
- Yet another verse often given as promise in TPM is “LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Again if you read the context of this verse you will find that this is a conditional promise. This is found in Isaiah 58. God is criticizing Israelites of their so-called sacrificial fast. God says “if you fast in the manner in which I desire, by sharing your part of bread with hungry and your part of clothes to naked then thy light will shine and then thou shall be like watered garden and springs of water. But TPMites cares no more about what is written above and below.
Purpose of Tarot Cards
Tarot cards are associated with divination and unlocking the secrets of the future by occult or supernatural means. Due to this association with divination, tarot is strictly prohibited in the Bible.
God warned His people, the Israelites, against divination when they were on the verge of entering the Promised Land. He lists divination among such evils as child sacrifice and casting spells in Deut 18:9–12. Leviticus 19:26 puts is blatantly: “Do not practice divination or seek omens.” Tarot card reading definitely falls within the scope of this prohibition.
What TPM is doing is, reaching close to the Tarot Card system but practicing that with the Verses of the Bible. Do not be a party to your own destruction by manipulation and misuse of scriptures (1 Pet 3:16).
The Spirit behind this system
These Tarot Cards or Promise Cards are tapping into the curious soulish realm of every carnal person. It’s therefore not at all surprising that the TPM Believers are also enticed into this trap.
Without a doubt, TPM is filled with worldly people. Nobody questions this “biblical tarot card system”.
Many of the promises also come from Deut 28 which we know is conditional (verse 1) and hence carries a curse for those who disobey even one very small part. Nevertheless, TPM brainwashed ones believe in those lies from the pulpit.
In other Pentecostal Churches, there are these “prophets” who promise great material fortunes to their people. TPM lacks such worldly smart people and that is where these promise lottery tickets come to play. Churches like these are cultivating miserable people with their eyes fixed on this world.
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Cor 15:19
In Acts 16, Paul meets a fortune teller, a slave, who earned her masters a lot of money by fortune-telling (verse 16). The Bible attributes her ability to have a demonic spirit, which Paul was able to cast out of her by the name of Jesus Christ (verse 18). The Bible does not mention the tools the slave girl used to tell the future, but, whether tea leaves or dice or lots or cards of some type, the items used in that context brought honor to demonic spirits.
Serious New Testament Promises
If you would have noted these promises circulated by TPM, you will note that these are old testament conditional promises to Israel. What TPM does is, remove those conditions and the context, but just handover the promissory part. This is deception at best.
They are being pushed towards the broad way to destruction and the narrow way is closed forever. They are running after today’s material wealth and outsourcing away their eternity to frauds in white.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. Matt 7:13
For a New Testament Believer, the New Testament also has many promises. These Promises are basically against our Fleshly desire and promotes our Spiritual wellbeing. I am sure that a Majority of TPM believers will abhor these promises. Let me cite a few.
- These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
- Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Tim 3:12
- If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 2 Tim 2:12
- You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matt 10:22
- Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Rev 2:10
- But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; Matt 10:17
- If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:19
- And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death. Rev 12:11
Now assume the condition of TPM believers if they get these real promises that Jesus Promised to them? I can guarantee that these carnal people will ask for a divorce from Jesus and start looking for other means.
TPM Believers gets puffed up about their gathering for watch night service. They think they are not like other men (Luke 18:9,11). But all their righteousness appears gloomy. They have tarot card style of fortune telling under the banner of New Year promise. Their New Year resolutions have root in pagan tradition of resolutions of Roman god – Janus (Check this article). Contrary to scriptures they make resolutions and break them (Matt 5:33-37, 21:28-32). Contrary to scriptures (1 Corinthians 14) they mass fill in unintelligible tongues. Contrary to the scriptural commandment (Romans 14:4-5) they regard one day (New Year) and despise other days (Christmas). They customize scriptures as per the desires of their heart. They get so excited and happy when they hear promise or prophecy “I will make your enemies your footstool” which is contrary to the commandment of showing love and charity. With all these evils, why do they puff so much about their watch night service and New Year meetings?
Solomon, the wisest person ever, offered this wisdom about knowing the future in Ecclesiastes 7:14:
“When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.”
And in Ecclesiastes 8:7 he writes this:
“Since no one knows the future,
who can tell someone else what is to come?”
Only God holds the future, and only He truly knows what will happen (Isaiah 46:10).
If you desire to have peace about your future, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. The future is bright for those who know Him (Romans 8:17).
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