Evangelical Leaders Promote Claim Rain was a “Prophetic Sign” at Trump Inauguration

Here’s one I missed from a few days ago: from Charisma News:

A Major Prophetic Sign Appeared the Moment Donald Trump Stepped to the Inauguration Platform

The inauguration of Donald Trump was being watched live by tens of millions of people all over the world, and it was at that precise moment that God gave all of us another little reminder that He is in control. It had not been raining prior to the time Trump stepped up to the inauguration platform, but when he did, the rain began to fall…

The author is one Michael Snyder, who is an increasingly significant figure in the process of mainstreaming David Icke-style conspiracy theories in American evangelicalism (e.g. here and here). The neo-Pentecostal evangelical leader Rick Joyner concurs, as noted by Right Wing Watch:

After declaring that Trump’s election was “a miracle,” Joyner explained that, with the exception of Noah’s flood, “everywhere in scripture that rain is mentioned, it is a blessing,” meaning that the presence of rain during Trump’s inauguration was a heavenly sign.

“Anywhere that rain is mentioned in scripture, it is referenced as a blessing to bring fruitfulness to the earth,” Joyner said. “And it was so extraordinary that it was like the rain held off until he stepped up to the podium and then there was just enough for people to know it was raining, and then it seemed to quit again right away. But there was just a touch and I think that was a blessing from God.”

Of course, Franklin Graham himself had said something similar at Trump’s inauguration, although he held back from an explicit claim of supernatural causation, and I took it as a light-hearted quip rather than a serious proposition:

“Mr. President, in the Bible, rain is a sign of God’s blessing. And it started to rain, Mr. President, when you came to the platform. It’s my prayer that God will bless you, your family, your administration, and may He bless America.”

There are several texts in the Hebrew Bible in which God promises to either provide or withhold rainfall depending on how the Israelites behaved; one of religion’s primal functions is to explain why seemingly random disasters such as drought and famine occur, and to offer guidance about how heavenly powers might be appeased so that future calamities are avoided. However, these passages obviously refer to rainfall as a general condition required to sustain life in the Levant. To my recollection, there is no instance in the Bible where God uses rainfall as a sign to bless a particular individual or action at a particular moment.

Further, these evangelical leaders have conveniently forgotten a passage in the New Testament – the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:45:

[God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

In other words, everyone gets rained on – it is not a sign of a special blessing or a curse, although we all know from personal experience that it is usually annoying and slightly unpleasant, and that it may be hazardous to health. I do not believe for a moment that these “prophets” and “Bible teachers” would have interpreted rain at a Democratic candidate’s inauguration as any kind of “blessing” – indeed, they probably would have said that such “bad weather” indicates divine disapproval. The idea that the rain was a “prophetic sign” at Trump’s inauguration merely highlights the shameless opportunism of the USA’s evangelical leadership.

Meanwhile, Trump’s own version of what happened with the rain is slightly different, as related by a critical article in the Daily Beast about Trump’s constant lying:

It stopped raining immediately when I started speaking, he said. No—it started raining when he started speaking; it was visible to any viewer that some on the podium started donning ponchos (it was a light rain that didn’t last long, but it was still rain). There was a huge rainstorm after, he said. No, there wasn’t. Again, the whole world could see this.