Wednesday, April 20, 2005

False Prophets

Hello, gentle readers…

Today, I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to write on a very difficult topic: False prophets. In my regular study and reading time, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart in the Book of Ezekiel. Please, get your bibles and read Ezekiel 13. In this chapter God condemns those prophets who speak even though the Lord has said nothing to them. In verses 6-7, Ezekiel quotes the Lord when he says, “Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, ‘The Lord declares,’ when the Lord has not sent them; yet they expect to have their words fulfilled. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations, when you say, ‘The Lord declares,’ though I have not spoken?” *

What are prophets’ lies and how can you be wise and discern those who would prophesy lies? There are a number of telltale signs that have been noted:


1. These people are self-professed “prophets” or “modern-day prophets.” They actively promote themselves as prophets and insist that others refer to them as such. They are all spin and no substance according to Ezekiel.

2. They abuse the gift by making “prophetic” announcements, which claim a binding effect on followers. Often the followers are caught up in putting the “prophet” on a man-made pedestal and the “prophet” does nothing to humble themself and get off that pedestal.

3. The “prophet” makes no specific claims, but followers are recording, collecting or distributing what the “prophet” says and claim that the words are from God.

4. They are usually the same words to all people and usually quote the same scriptures, i.e. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made, says the Lord” or “I have a great purpose for your life, declares the Lord” As you can see, these are very general and have no specific word from God for the life of the believer.

5. It (the prophecy) is used to control the lives of the followers or for setting forth doctrine.

6. And worst of all, it draws attention to the “prophet”, not God.



The current accepted model of prophecy was set forth by John Wimber of the Vineyard Fellowship. It teaches, according to what I’ve read, that you are to take your thoughts (whatever enters your mind) and express them as though they were prophecy. Supposedly, one has to practice this gift and will gain proficiency through that practice.

So what is the problem with this model? It pre-empts spiritual discernment, assumes the thoughts and sayings are from God, and anyone who tries to be discerning or question the prophet is castigated and thought be less spiritual or doubting. It creates a hostile atmosphere where questioning is prohibited and one is expected to just follow.

What is prophecy? According to
http://gea.org/, prophecy is defined as the mind of Christ and the words of Christ spoken through those with the gift of prophecy.

In my opinion and through my study, I believe that God sent prophets forth with a very specific message about God’s plan. There was a reason for these prophecies and God shared a timetable with the prophet. Just look at the Old Testament. (I will address this further a bit later on.) According to
http://scholarscorner.com/, in the Old Testament, the Spirit of God rested ON the prophet. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit resides IN the prophet, but also in all of the people of God. God used the prophets of the Old Testament because His Spirit only dwelled in the Temple and ON the prophet.

Is there a need for prophecy in our day, or has the gift ceased? I believe we still have modern-day prophets but their role may have changed. We must understand that God speaks to all of His followers through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus, that way is open to us all. The Old Testament prophets didn’t have the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. But, we must remember that God has said we can hear from Him directly! We need no mediator other than Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been given to us to teach us all we need to know.

All that being said, how can we be spiritually discerning when it comes to prophecy? According to
http://word-of-grace.com/:

1. Not everything that is inspired is prophecy.
2. Hearing God and intercession are not the gift of prophecy.
3. Words of encouragement are not prophecy.
4. Perceptive people don’t necessarily have a spiritual gift. They may just be perceptive.
5. True prophecy should quicken our hearts and minds, reminding us of Scripture.

Self-professed prophets MUST be scrutinized. The scripture says to test the spirits to see if they are from God. Is what the church now accepts as prophecy truly the gift of prophecy, or is it simply the gift of the word of knowledge? How much of what we are told is prophecy is nothing more than personal opinion or repetition of scripture? How much of what we are told is prophecy is really nothing more than hype or spin meant to sound spiritual when there is a lack of hearing from God?

Truly, God has spoken to my heart. As surely as night turns to day, we have a large number of false prophets among us who would lull us to obedience by their lying declarations. They have not heard from God but are spouting religious rhetoric that sounds spiritual.

I would ask you to get to know God more intimately so that you may discern the spirits and know when you have false prophecy being spoken into your life. And, if you are in the presence of such a person, pray that God will enlighten them that they may see their false prophecy and repent.

May God speak to your heart today and my you receive all of His blessings for you, your family and friends.

CLG-B

* Ezekiel 13:6-7 (NLT) "Instead they have lied and said, 'My message is from the Lord,' even though the Lord never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies! Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, 'This message is from the Lord, when I have not even spoken to you?'"

Try reading the scriptures in the NLT version. The language isn't as pretty, but the message comes through loud and clear. Those not used to reading the bible may find the NLT is more easily understood.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the study on prophets today and the warnings to be circumspect about them. False prophets are a great problem in our day. Jesus said one of the signs of his coming would be false prophets.

There is a prophet who I went to see locally the same week our country attacked Iraq. This prophet (KC) had a 3 day engagement at a local Jr. High. I can only speculate as to why he doesn't hold such meetings in churches. On the second night of his 3 day "gig" and it was a "gig", he prophesied that the war in Iraq would last only 5 days. Of course he was out of town by day three and had no accountability for his prophecy. Yet this character has appeared regularly on TBN and he has even boasted of being invited to the White House. He speaks so highly, and so often about our President on his website, I wonder if he is really a propagandist for the CIA because his batting average on prediction/fulfillment is so poor.

If you do a Google search on him you can find prophecy after prophecy on which he didn't deliver such as; a cure for AIDS, a 5 day war, no US solider will be killed in Iraq, etc. Go to his website and you can see some of the tactics he uses:

1. - vague langue: The original "prophecy" is so language interpretive that any thing that remotely looks like a "fulfillment" can be published later as a fulfillment to his nonspecific interpretive jargon.

2. posting on his website a "prophecy" AFTER the "FULFILLMENT" is accomplished! But here is what few people realize. When both finally appear on the website (after the fact) it appears as if he had prophesied it some time ago. Granted there are predictions there waiting for a fulfillment at a latter date, but every once in a while a prophecy and fulfillment appear out of the blue AFTER the fact. What he counts on is that people don't check his website everyday. We tend to look at his website AFTER the Pope has died, AFTER a natural disaster etc. That's when these kinds of - "I predicted that a long time ago" - charade comes out of the wood work. And by posting the prophecy/fulfillment together some time after the fact, he counts on the fact that the reader (at a disadvantage) can not remember the exact date a "fulfillment" actually occurs AND thus has a hard time with the sequencing of dates along side his website time line. He gives the reader the impression that good ole' KC was out of town on tour and could not get to the computer to update us on a prophecy while he was on the road. Subsequently the fulfillment happens before he has time to get back to the office to publicize it on the web. So watch for this! Check his website daily with newspaper in hand. He will publish a prophecy AND fulfillment together days AFTER it has been fulfilled. This doesn't occur every prophecy, but often enough for me to cry, "ENOUGH Already!

3. another tactic he uses is to explain how for instance, a predicted catastrophe did NOT happen because people prayed so hard it stayed the tragic event from happening. Or he explains unfulfilled prophecy as "conditional prophecy" or prophecy which might have been fulfilled but we just can't see it in the natural yet!


I could go on and on. He's just an obvious one. But there are more out there. On the "Elijah List" a prophet prophecies that Hershey candy bars will bring an anointing to our country along with Levi jeans during the 2004 Christmas season (prophesied in November of last year). The nonsense of this is laughable to the non-Christian, when will some of us wise up?

I agree wholeheartedly that a true prophecy has to share the "mind of Christ". It can not come from our senses. It has to be "supernatural" not "sensational" - tickling our ears. When I heard that prophecy of the 5 day war, I was "tickled pink" and remember calling a Pastor friend about it. I have sons of fighting age - it's just what a mother wants to hear - a 5 day war with no US causalities (he says in another city). Pack that with "sensational" music and you have an audience primed to have their "ears tickled"!

Anonymous said...

Having recently attended a week of training with CI, and also the Gl-bal Harv--t national prophetic conference, here's some thoughts:

(1) Not everyone that calls themselves a prophet is one. By their fruit they will be known. Some are charlatans for financial or political reasons; others are well-intentioned but missing it (lack of training, stepping beyond gifting into office, etc).

(2) There are far more prophets and prophets-in-training (a LOT of them!) than we realize.

(3) There are many that are untrained or have received minimal training before they hang out their shingle. Graham C--k, for example, said it takes about twelve years for God to take someone from the calling to the office, and God has to kill you in the process. In class at CI, Bill L--kie told about the things he had to die to - the process of preparation - in order to get where he's at now (Joyce M-y-r's book on making a leader is excellent, by the way).

(4) Where there's a market for people to get their ears tickled, there will be people that will tickle them. I read the E--jah List infrequently and very selectively any more.

(5) The true prophets of God are open to correction. Cindy J--obs spoke at the GHM conference about how God showed her how mean she was to the gay community.

(6) Mentoring is important in the prophetic. A gifting and a class once or twice a year is not enough.

(7) The true prophets are seeking to minister from the heart of Jesus, not deliver prophetic fluff.

Doug

Dave said...

Hi, I appreciate the warnings in this message. I disagree with one point, when I was part of the Vineyard Fellowship all who ever spoke "prophetically" were very careful to say that their words were their very human interpretation or way of communicating what they "saw", never claiming "thus sayeth the Lord" like so often is the case. We were always cautioned to test the words, to line it up with Scripture and with previous things spoken over us or visions of our own. I haven't read everything John Wimber wrote but what you say he taught does not sound at all like him. Dave

Stephen said...

We need to take Paul's injunction to test prophecy seriously as the body of Christ. Too often, any evaluation of prophecy has been quashed by the notion of 'speaking against the Lord's anointed'. Don't be deterred by this - we need to filter all prospective prophecy throught the filters of the Bible, common sense, Church tradition and our own relationship with the Holy Spirit.

I believe there are two types of prophets:

1. All who are filled with the Holy Spirit are filled with the 'Spirit of Prophecy'. We should all be speaking the mind of Christ into every situation. (I believe this is where the John Wimber quote is coming from, but we also need to develop discernment in what we say or don't say)

2. There are those who are called to a ministry of Prophecy. In the Bible, Prophets were often outside of the social and religious structures, misunderstood and reviled (look at the lives of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, Paul etc etc etc) yet they stood firm to the message God had given them. How many of this kind of Prophet are around today?

Oh by the way, the punishment in the Mosaic Law for a prophet whose prophecy was not fulfilled was being stoned to death. Praise God for His grace, but let's remember what a serious thing it is to presume to speak on God's behalf.

barney said...

you speak wisely. however, don't get caught in a paradigm jungle, like so many do. there are 'prophets' who prophesy and then there are 'prophets' who give prophecy. to prophesy is to speak the word of God into someone. in a corporate setting, if the person giving a sermon is speaking from scripture, he is in essence prophesying. too often we confuse this with being prophetic. not true.

you are correct in saying there are a lot of charlatans who claim to be a mouthpiece for God. yet there are so many who disregard their own gifts. Paul and Moses both lamented the fact that not everyone prophesied, or spent time prophesying, speaking the word of God, into their lives and the lives of others. How do we do that? simple. base your prayers, not your will on scripture for others. speak from the Bible instead of your mind. don't use the Bible as a tool to shape others but to encourage them. you have already pointed all this out.

i have found that there are a lot of people who are enamored by the 'workings of the Holy Spirit' and will travel to all ends of the earth to 'recieve' a blessing. often the 'blessing' is man made and not God ordained. as you pointed out, discernment is the key. if more people who are in search would use discernment first, they then could save themselves a lot of time and have more time and energy to recieve what God so desires for them.