David Wilkerson Dies: A Holy Prophet in Modern Times

UPDATE: 9/6/14 —

Gary Wilkerson’s David Wilkerson (2014), the official biography, is hot off the press! Buy it here on Amazon.com!

David Wilkerson Biography


I just found out that David Wilkerson, the man of God, died on April 27, 2011 (this past Wednesday). If you have never heard of him, let me tell you what his ministry has meant to me.

His Books

Wilkerson was an ex-Assemblies of God pastor who obeyed God’s voice to go to New York City in 1958, to help some gang members get out of the mess they were in, and change their lives for Christ. It was a bold move, but Wilkerson felt that he was obeying God’s voice. He told the story about this in his book The Cross and the Switchblade (1962), which was also turned into a movie starring Pat Boone; and for some reason, the book was also instrumental in sparking the Catholic Charismatic renewal. As a result, Wilkerson became one of the major voices in the Charismatic movement and in Pentecostal churches in general. But unlike many preachers in our times, he was a VOICE OF HOLINESS. The spiritual son of Leonard Ravenhill, Wilkerson was always preaching against sin, and encouraging people in his Times Square Church to live holy lives. While Wilkerson leaned more towards the Evangelical side of spirituality–calling people to holiness, repentance, and faith in the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross–there were also times when Wilkerson manifested the gift of prophecy. About 10 years after he published the first book I mentioned, he released The Vision (1973). Wilkerson claimed to have received an open vision of trials for our times, and the end of the world, that was long and detailed. He was also in an ecstasy when he saw this. In the vision, he described many of the calamities that he foresaw coming upon America.

His Prophecies in 1973:

  1. “Worldwide recession caused by economic confusion”
    • “At most a few more fat flourishing years, and then an economic recession that’s going to affect the life style of every wage-earner in the world. The world economists are going to be at loss to explain what’s happening. It’s going to start in Europe, spread to Japan and finally to the United States.”
    • There will be a move toward a worldwide, unified monetary system. The US dollar will be hit bad and it will take years for it to recover.
    • The only real security will be in real estate (until a somewhat later stage, at which point this apparent security will also disappear).
  2. “Nature having labor pains”
    • Environmentalists will come under heavy criticism.
    • There will be major earthquakes.
    • There will be a major famine.
    • Floods, hurricanes and tornadoes will increase in frequency.
    • “A new kind of cosmic storm appearing as a raging fire in the sky leaving a kind of vapor trail.”[7]
  3. “A flood of filth and a baptism of dirt in America”
    • Topless women will appear on television, followed by full nudity.
    • Adult, X rated movies will be shown on cable television. Young people will gather at homes to watch this kind of material in groups.
    • Sex and the occult will be mixed.
    • There will be an acceptance of homosexuality, and the church will even say that it is a God-given gift.
  4. “Rebellion in the home”
    • “I see the new number one youth problem in America and the world as hatred towards parents.”[7]
  5. “A persecution madness against truly Spirit-filled Christians who love Jesus Christ”
    • There will arise a world church consisting of a union between liberal ecumenical Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church, using Christ in name only.
    • There will be a “hate Christ” movement.
    • There will be a spiritual awakening behind the Iron and Bamboo Curtains.
  6. Other Prophecies
    • There will be another wave of riots.
    • There will be a fall in moral conduct.
    • There will be a new drug that will be popular with teenagers that will break down resistance and will encourage sexual activity.
    • Homosexual and lesbian ministers will be ordained and this will be heralded as a new breed of pioneer.
    • There will be occult practices in churches.

Fulfillments of His Prophecies

It is very clear to me that several, if not all of these prophecies have already been fulfilled, since they were uttered in 1973. The first–“a worldwide recession” began in 2008 when the recession hit–and America and the world are still suffering from it. The second–“nature having labor pains” is fulfilled every day with the constant hurricane season, tornadoes ravaging the land, and oil spills, etc. The third–“a flood of filth in America” (particularly pornography on cable TV)–this was fulfilled in the 1980s. The fourth–“rebellion in the home” is basically everywhere today (although I don’t know of a specific date when this became a major problem in America). The fifth–“a persecution madness”–this is everywhere today in schools and in the workplace (America is now generally an anti-Evangelical or at the very least a non-Evangelical country). The sixth–(1) “the new drug” is perhaps the pill called MDMA, Ecstasy, or E–which makes people want to have sex with others that they would not normally want to. It has been popular at raves and has been used as a method of date rape since the 1970s and 80s. (2) “Homosexual and lesbian ministers will be ordained”–this appears to have begun with the United Church of Christ and the Episcopalians around 1972–but today things are much worse. (3) “Occult practices in churches”–this was going on in the liberal churches during the Charismatic movement–particularly the practices of Transcendental Meditation, yoga, and Zen meditation, and even spiritism by consorting with psychics (all of which became popular with Jean Dixon in the 1970s and 80s (the New Age movement). (5) And let’s not forget his foretelling of September 11, 2001–and his subsequent calling of New Yorkers to repentance.

Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson’s Sermons: On Holiness and Prayer

From 2005 to 2007, I was greatly built up in my faith by listening to his sermons on sermonindex.net. A friend at a Christian summer camp that I was working at introduced me to the sermons of both Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson. I would listen to hundreds of their messages. They had a rare word to preach: REPENTANCE. Something that most pastors are not preaching on today at all! My spirit was greatly strengthened by their holy rantings and ravings against sin in the lives of Christians, in the world, and the church. They made me want to live holy; and clean myself up. What’s more, I would want to go out to a solitary place and pray for an hour or more after hearing their anointed sermons. Prayer was another great emphasis of their preaching–particularly INTERCESSORY PRAYER for hours (travailing for the souls of men).

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