Truth Prophet

PATHWAY
God: Faith Development
AGE GROUP
12-14 years, 14-16 years
Anticipate Time
3 hours min
GROUP SIZE
2-5, 5-15, 15-30
Values
Faith, Integrity, Loyalty, Gratitude, Truth

Synopsis

Pathfinders use a map and a series of clues to track down a number of “Prophets.” Each prophet tries to convince them that they are the Prophet of Truth. They must assess what each says and accept of reject their words. If they are claimed by the group as a “false Prophet,” the group must give reasons why. The “prophet” then gives them another clue which will help their search for the next “Prophet.” When all groups have judged the prophets, they return to the meeting room to report their assessments.

Through participation in this Pursuit, the Pathfinder will:

  1. Use clues to follow directions
  2. Discern truth from fiction
  3. Use discussion to come to a consensus of opinion
  4. Understand what the Bible says on a number of subject areas

Scripture Focus

Memory Verse

Isaiah 8: 20
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Someone has said that, “The greatest deception is the one closest to the truth.” How true it is, and will continue to be. Ellen White has much to say about the pivotal importance of truth and our study of it.

“We have the greatest truth and hope that were ever given to our world, and the greatest faith; and we want to represent this … to the world.” 1

“‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them’ (Isaiah 8:20). The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of the spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible… Antichrist is to perform his marvellous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that is will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures…. None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” Strong words!

“Many who profess to believe the truth for these last days will be found wanting. They have neglected the weightier matters. Their conversion is superficial, not deep, earnest, and thorough. They do not know why they believe the truth, only because others have believed it, and they take it for granted that it is the truth. They give no intelligent reason why they believe.” 3

She goes a far as to say that:
“As the storm approaches , a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not… obeyed…. the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition.” 
It is something that will not just be for adults. All will pass through this awesome time! Are we prepared to discern truth from fiction?

“The American Banking Association once sponsored a two-week training program to help tellers detect counterfeit bills. The program was unique – never during the two-week training did the tellers even look at a counterfeit bill, nor did they listen to any lectures concerning the characteristics of counterfeit bills…. All they did for two weeks was handle authentic currency, hour after hour, day after day, until they were so familiar with the true that they could not possibly be fooled by the false. We need to study and apply God’s Word until we are so familiar with it that we cannot be fooled by anything less than real truth.”

Preperation

  1. In order to keep the groups separate, make the circuit the same for each team, just start them at different stations. This means that the truth prophet will not necessarily be the last one. Choose locations on the map for the various prophets. Mark them on your master map sheet only. Then invent ‘clues’ which will direct the teams to each prophet ‘site’. Write out all the clues (the Pathfinders will need to have a good knowledge of the surrounds of the camp if this is to be done in a camping context), and place a complete set of clues in separate envelopes. Make sure each team has a complete set of envelopes. Label each set of envelopes with the name of that team. Keep the first clue for each team at the starting point. Set up the prophets at various stations around your location. NB. The prophets will give their oracle/message whenever a group comes into their presence. This is to stop the Pathfinders from turning it into a race. (More than one group can listen to the speech at one time, should they happen to catch up).
  2. Visit the area before you play the game, ensuring that teams can work from one site to the next in the time allowed (remembering they need ‘talking’ time).
  3. Umpires will accompany each team and enforce the rules. If a group is struggling to find the next prophet, the umpire may assist them getting there.
  4. False prophets may use any of the speech outlines in the Appendix as a guide to their speech. NB. There are 10 from which to choose. Select scripts from these which you feel will offer a challenge to your ParticipantsDO NOT USE ALL OF THEM. The prophets may use any number of props to help them sell their ‘angle’. Each Prophet must sign the clue sheet of the group BEFORE they proceed to the next Prophet. They should be encouraged to take notes while the speech is being delivered.

NB. DON’T MENTION THE TITLE OF YOUR MESSAGE TO THE GROUPS. THEY WILL NOT UNDERSTAND THE TERMINOLOGY. All they need to do is simply assess the message. They are to write the number of each Prophet in their Journal, make notes and write their conclusion under each number.

Materials:
  • Copies of a map of the area (with enough detail to challenge the ability of the players). If working in a town or city setting, street directories will work well.
  • Copy of the rules for each team
  • Written clues for each team in sealed envelopes.
  • Instructions for officials (umpires, prophets)
  • Costumes and props as required by the prophets (optional)
  • Bibles for all participants.

Outline

1. Explain the outline of the simulation game to the Pathfinders.
Say: Today you are on a quest for truth. It will be a lifesaving quest – for the quest for truth always is. You will work in teams of no more than 5 and use your clues in this envelope to search out Prophets who will proceed to ‘sell’ you their version of truth. You are to discuss their message with your group, note any Bible verses which may help you in your quest and determine whether or not they are the ‘true prophet’ or merely ‘false prophets’. You are to write which number Prophet they are and then write your conclusions in your Journal. You must reach a group consensus before you proceed. Ask the Prophet to sign your clue sheet BEFORE you proceed to the next one. As soon as your team reaches a decision and has the signature, you may follow your clues and find another Prophet. The Prophets will speak whenever they have an audience. When you reach your prophet you will ask: ”What is truth?”
Abide by the following rules as you proceed:

  • Players must stay with their teams
  • Each team is to follow the clues until they find the next Prophet.
  • After 90 minutes, the game ends. Wherever you are at that point, move back to this spot.


Teams, line up. When I say go, you must run to me to get your first clue. A prophet will be positioned where the clue indicates. See you in 90 minutes!

2. Once the Pathfinders have heard all the Prophets, and are assembled back at the meeting place, they will sit in groups and discuss the ‘weight of evidence’ outlined by each Prophet. 
Have each group decide WHICH NUMBER PROPHET is the true one, and which ones are the false ones. Then ask each group to share their findings and what lead them to their conclusion before any discussion begins. 
When all have shared their reasons, have your guest speaker or chosen Pathfinder leader help the Pathfinders work through the errors in the different speeches with biblical support. Share the quotation from the Spiritual focus: “The greatest deception is the one closest to the truth.” 

3. Debrief carefully and sensitively.

4. Conclude with the illustration from the Spiritual Focus:
“The American Banking Association once sponsored a two-week training program to help tellers detect counterfeit bills. The program was unique – never during the two-week training did the tellers even look at a counterfeit bill, nor did they listen to any lectures concerning the characteristics of counterfeit bills…. All they did for two weeks was handle authentic currency, hour after hour, day after day, until they were so familiar with the true that they could not possibly be fooled by the false. We need to study and apply God’s Word until we are so familiar with it that we cannot be fooled by anything less than real truth.”

Debrief

Make use of Biblical references to reinforce truth!
Reflection

  • Did the false prophets have good things to say? What were they?
  • Who in your group emerged as a leader? Why?
  • What caused some to lead and others to follow?
  • Did your group try to cooperate with other teams? Why or Why not?
  • Which false prophet was the most convincing? Why?

Interpretation

  • At what point did you know that the various prophets were false, and how did you tell?
  • Who thought of this as a race? Is the pursuit of truth a race in real life? Will it be only those who find the truth first who will be rewarded at the ‘end of the game’ of life?
  • What was actually false about each prophet? What were they wrong about?
  • Some prophets talked about God and used the Bible. How did you decide these ones were false?
  • How can you distinguish between real truth and error? What do you compare it to?
  • What difference would it have made if all the teams shared the information?” How would it have changed the ending of the game? How does this relate to our spiritual lives?
  • Comment on the Statement: “The greatest deception is the one closest to the truth.” Do you believe it? Discuss this statement in light of our understanding of what a “counterfeit” is. What comments does Matthew make in Chapter 24 about such counterfeits? (They will deceive the very elect). How might this statement become more relevant as we move closer to the end times?
  • Was the Prophet of Truth convincing? What helped you discern the difference between the false prophets and the true prophet?

Application

  • In what ways did the false prophets resemble different voices we hear in life? How can we avoid being brainwashed by these other influences in our lives?
  • What will help us to discern between what is false and what is true in the future?
  • Is this all a bit of an exaggeration? Is truth really this serious?
  • What does the Bible say about false prophets? (Matthew 24)
  • Who is the only person who can decide your destiny?

Commitment

  • What will you do this week to ‘feed’ on truth?

Appendix

  1. “Christian Service” by Ellen White (1947) p 226
  2. “The Great Controversy” by Ellen G White (1950) Ellen White Publications, p 593
  3. “Testimonies for the Church” Vol. 2. by Ellen White (1948) E.G. White Publications. p634
  4. “The Great Controversy” by Ellen White (1950) Ellen G White Publications, p 608
  5. Cited in “The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart” by Charles Swindoll (1998) Word Publishing, Tennessee

Appendix:
Suggested ‘Truth Prophet’ Scripts

1. The Postmodern Prophet. 
What is truth? I am Prophet number ONE and I can’t tell you what truth is. I know what it is for me, but you have to figure out what it is for you.
I’ll tell you a parable to explain what I mean:
There were once five blind men who stumbled across an elephant in the forest. They had never met an elephant before. The first blind man went up to the elephant and felt it. He said, “It is like a tree, for it is thick and solid, and it stands upright.” The second man said “Nay, it is like a rope, hanging from a door-frame.” The third man said, “It is like a thick, rubbery hose.” “It seems to me”, the fourth man said, “to be as a large, brass sticky-outy thing.” The fifth man said, “Odds Bodikins, it is like a low cave with a hairy roof.” They fell about to arguing, each blind man shouting above the voices of the others and sticking his fingers into his ears so that he was both blind and deaf. Were they right? Were they wrong? Each blind man had a piece of the truth. Each blind man was correct, yet their truth disagreed with that of the next. Their problem was that they did not recognise that each of them had a part of the truth. What you have to realise is that the truth for you may not be the truth for someone else. You have to embrace what is truth for you, and recognise that this may be totally different for other people.

2. The New Age Prophet.
What is truth? I am Prophet number TWO, and I say Truth is about God…
God is so powerful that he is everywhere at once. The Bible says that He is omnipresent – that means God is all around us. God is everywhere. This means that God is in you, and God is in me. God is in nature: In the rocks and the trees. God is in your homes and at your churches. He is all around us. He is everywhere and is everything. Let me tell you what I mean: If you got a rock and you cut it in half, and then you take a half, and you cut that in half, and then you cut that in half, and you kept cutting in half, and you kept cutting, what would you end up with? An atom. And if you kept cutting and kept cutting the atom, what would you end up with? Nothing? No! You would end up with the God-force: The basis of all existence: Everything is made of God. Everything is God. If you first recognise this fact, that God is in you, and you can be God, then you will begin to see what life is all about.
There is so much happening in the world to suggest that we are about to enter something new and good. Systems of the world are breaking down on the one hand, while on the other hand there is much to provide hope for the future. Many of today’s issues and problems are simply a revisiting of common themes over time. Life continues on in many constant and predictable cycles of activity. Learn from the past, contact those who know from the past and you will have the best clues for living in the future.

3. The Taoist Prophet.
What is truth? I am Prophet number THREE and I say Truth is a slippery thing. You can’t really say what truth is. The best you can do is explain how it works. Let me explain. Tell me what the opposites to these are: White, Hot, Dark, Up, Good, Female. Now, you can’t have each of these without having the opposite, can you? How would you know what Hot was if you didn’t have Cold to compare it with. How could you have Light without having Dark for it to shine into? Why do bad things happen in the world? Why do good things happen? Bad and good things happen in the world because the universe is in harmony. Good balances with Evil, Male balances with Female. Light balances with dark. This is why the book of Ecclesiastes says, “A time for everything” – a time for life and a time for death. A time for war, and a time for peace. A time for the truth, and a time for a lie. This is why Jesus said, “God makes rain to fall on the righteous and the wicked”. Jesus said a whole lot of other stuff about seeing things from a balanced and harmonious perspective. So the truth is that you must recognise that there is balance and harmony in the universe: a balance between Good and bad, black and white. This means that in order to live in the universe, you have to listen very carefully to the world around you, and not to act against the balance that has been set up. This is how the truth works.

4. The Christian Prophet
What is truth? I am Prophet number FOUR and I say No, if this is the only question you ask, you will get stuck. The real question you need to be asking is “Who is truth?”, not “What is truth”. Truth is not just a set of ideas. Truth is not merely logic. Truth is not just right and wrong. The reality is that the truth is a person. Truth lives and breathes. Truth has flesh and bones, and thinks and talks. The Truth is alive. 
How can truth be a person? Can it be any person? Can it be me or you? No, it cannot. The truth is only one Person. Only one Person in the entire universe is the Truth. So who is it? About 2000 years ago, the truth was born in a stable in the middle east. His parents called him Yeshua. Christians today call him Jesus. However, most people who call themselves Christians don’t even realise who—or what—Jesus was. Jesus says, “If you know the truth, the truth will set you free” – and he was talking about himself. The truth was, and is, a person—Jesus: God packed into a human body. If you want to know what truth is, you are going to get stuck. If you want to know the truth, you have to get to know Jesus. It’s that simple, and that difficult. We can best get to know this God-man through the Scriptures, for the Truth about Jesus is so clearly revealed in the Bible, as David says in the Psalms: “Thy word is truth.” This is where you will find the truth about the Truth.

5. Prophet of Prosperity
What is truth? I am Prophet number FIVE and I say the universe works on laws—on rules. These rules are the truth. One of the biggest rules that our society has broken is the one about money. Let me show you what I mean. I have five dollars here. Who wants it? (Select one person, let them try to take it, and then pull the money away and hold it out of reach.) Money, money, money. Money is what makes the world go around. But Jesus said “You can’t serve both God and money”. You have heard that one, haven’t you? What Jesus meant was that in our world, people get too worried about trying to get the dollar. They spend their whole lives trying to get money. Now the Bible says “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.” This means that God looks after his people. If you are living ‘in the truth’, and you are living God’s way, he will care for you. I know a lot of people who call themselves Christian that don’t realise this. They are living in discomfort because they don’t realise that they have to ask God to supply their needs. Now (to the person who reached for the money.) I want you to close your eyes really tight, and pray that God will send you five dollars, to look after your needs. (give them the $5). See. This is just a simple illustration of how God’s truth works. If you seek His kingdom, he will look after you, and make you prosperous. “…All these things will be added unto you.”

6. Prophet of Hedonism.
What is truth? I am Prophet number SIX, and do you know what? You can spend lots of your life trying to answer questions like that, and you can hurt your head trying to figure it all out. What really matters is the here and now. God wants you to be happy, not to stress out about trying to solve the big questions of the universe. What really matters is that you are happy and healthy, you love others. It’s the simple things in life that are the best, the simple things in life that give pleasure. So don’t bother with all that “trying to find out what truth is” stuff. Just live your life simply, and make the most of every moment.

 

7. Prophet of Materialism
What is truth? I am Prophet number SEVEN and I say have a good look around you – hasn’t science helped us heaps? Would you like to have lived in the Middle Ages? Isn’t life so much better and easier now? Your talents, given by God should be used in service for others. Lift their burdens and lighten their loads. Money talks and money works. God gave Solomon heaps of money because He wanted Solomon to deliver heaps of blessings to others. The parable of the talents demonstrates that Gods wants us to wisely and effectively improve our wealth.

8. Prophet of Pragmatism
What is truth? I am Prophet number EIGHT and I say it’s true the Bible has many miraculous stories. They were ancient times and very unscientific times. I guarantee that if any ancient prophet saw a modern space shuttle or satellite communications he would think he was seeing a miracle. Science has really achieved a lot for humanity. We ought to rely on those things which have been proven and tested over time. That which works is that which is believable and trustworthy. Doesn’t the Bible say taste and see that which is good. God said “prove me – test me and see”.

9. Prophet of Humanism
What is Truth? I am Prophet number NINE and I say the ability within the human mind to create, develop, grow and excel is incredible. Given the time and the motivation, we are able to solve so many of the problems which trouble us. Let’s move beyond the restrictions of the past, think outside the square and grow to our fullest potential. It’s then that you will enjoy wide horizons, It’s then that you will understand so much more. It’s then you will experience real love and meaning in life.

10. Pleasure Seeking Prophet
What is Truth? I am Prophet number TEN and I say Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived – concluded that all in life is vanity – worthless. In effect his conclusion is that we should eat, drink and be merry because we will soon die. There is nothing you can take with you to the grave so common sense and the experience of many Bible characters tells you to enjoy what you have while you can.

Special thanks to Jotham Kingston and Garry Fraser for writing these scripts.