The inescapable truth is that false prophets need to feel validated.
False prophets and their followers love to put on outward shows so others will think that the Holy Spirit is moving upon them. Often, this is demonstrated by various jerks, quakes, nonsensical phrases and other odd spiritual manifestations.
Search for the term “drunk in the spirit” or “holy laughter” on YouTube and watch some of the videos that come up in the search results. If you do this, you’ll see how this strange phenomenon works, between false prophets, their fans and whatever spirits they are entertaining.
It will probably also confuse you, and cause you to ask:
“Is This the Holy Spirit, or Is It Something Else?”
Is it even possible to operate under the influence of the Holy Spirit? The answer is a resounding YES!
In this chapter, I want to show you from Scripture how to discern whether an alleged prophet is operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit or another spirit. I also want to give you some solid scriptural guidelines to help you determine if a spiritual manifestation is a fake – a deception, or the real deal.
But before I do that, I want to give you a little insight into a false prophet’s rationale for acting the way they do. Their reasoning is as twisted as the spirits they serve.
Manifestations and the Old Testament Prophet
When deceiving others, it is always in a false prophet’s best interest to quickly silence any questions or opposition from those who may suspect that these manifestations are something other than the Holy Spirit.
One way they do this is by claiming that the Holy Spirit manifested physical, outward signs through the Old Testament prophets. For example, Isaiah walked around naked and Ezekiel laid siege to the model of Jerusalem while lying on his side. Those signs were definitely odd.
Hey, if the Old Testament prophets could act oddly, why can’t they?
This reasoning exhibits a high level of hypocrisy and inconsistency because these same people who aspire to be just like Old Testament prophets (by manifesting things outwardly) quickly rationalize, or outright REJECT, the Old Testament prophet’s message, which was inspired by the SAME Holy Spirit as those in the New Testament.
Embracing the odd behavior of the Old Testament prophets because it supports their idea of what “manifesting the Holy Spirit” looks like, they consider the MESSAGE of those same men of God to be “Old Covenant” stuff, and not worthy of consideration.
Adopting select Old Testament prophetic Scriptures but rejecting the prophetic message (not to mention ignoring the entire context) of those Scriptures is a favored tactic of the modern day false prophet. They LOVE to adopt certain Scriptures and concepts that will suit a particular purpose, but they will marginalize or outright REJECT others.
As you study the superior message of the true prophets in the Word of God, you will notice a vast difference between their message and the message of false prophets.
The message of a real prophet will ALWAYS lead you to repentance and draw you back to obedience to His written Word. A false prophet’s message will ALWAYS lead you someplace else.
Indeed, they are the “pied pipers” of our time.
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
I really like how the New Living Translation renders this verse.
Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.
But I’m Just a Helpless Marionette!
Unlike the false prophets of today, the physical manifestations of the Old Testament prophets were performed while they were in complete control of their faculties.
As they conveniently sidestep 1 Corinthians 14:33, which states “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace,” the false prophets will claim that the Holy Spirit is ordering and controlling them, in essence “forcing” them to manifest this bizarre behavior.
Do you really think that God forced Isaiah to walk around naked? (Isaiah 20:2) No, He didn’t… Isaiah had a choice.
Ezekiel even changed God’s mind as to how a manifestation was going to be performed! God originally wanted Ezekiel to cook his food over human dung! But Ezekiel couldn’t handle it (who could?) so God had him cook it over cow dung (um, gee… thanks God). (Ezekiel 4:12-15)
Let’s read 1 Corinthians 14:33 in its fullness.
…and the spirits of the prophets are subject [G5293 – hypotasso] to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
The Greek word for “subject” is hypotasso [G5293], which means subordinate, put in subjection, and obedient.
Before I continue, I have to ask the following questions:
- Did you feel peace as you watched the spiritual drunkenness videos?
- Did the people have their spirits subordinate or in subjection?
- Was it chaotic and maybe just a bit self-serving?
Think about it… Selah!
So, if a spiritual manifestation does not come from the Holy Spirit, where does it come from?
Well, there are a few possibilities.
Manifestations that are Fleshly in Nature
Because of their insatiable need for affirmation, a false prophet may invent this stuff, purely for the sake of keeping the audience intrigued.
False prophets have also been known take advantage of a well-known dynamic that takes place in prophetic conferences, prayer groups, etc. Here’s what happens.
If a prophet appears to be “manifesting the Holy Spirit,” his followers will voluntarily (or sometimes involuntarily) mimic their behavior, kicking it into high gear once they notice people are watching. The false prophet who wants to start a scene knows that this will happen.
During this time, it is difficult to know who is faking it and who is under the influence of a spirit, but one thing is certain, nobody is repenting or returning to God with a humble and contrite heart.
This happens more often than most people want to admit, and it’s all centered around self-promotion (of both the speaker and the follower).
1 Corinthians 14:33 states that “God is not the author of confusion.” I believe James 3:16 adds some insight.
For where envying and strife [G2052 – eritheia] is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Although the word eritheia can mean “strife,” its primary definition has to do more with “putting one’s self forward” or “self promotion,” than it does “causing division.”
Self-promotion (along with strife) and confusion always walk hand-in-hand – along with “every evil work.”
This ties in closely with Scriptural Witness #2. A false prophet will do anything to keep the crowd following them, including faking it when they see an advantage in doing so.
But not all manifestations are fleshly!
Some Manifestations Occur that are Entirely Spiritual in Nature.
Because they have opened the door for the spirit of harlotry to enter their services (see Scriptural Witness #4), prophetic churches are open to the manifestation of other spirits as well. Many of the people who have given themselves over to these deceptive spirits end up possessed by what they thought was from God, but was actually a satanic counterfeit.
Spiritual manifestations such as these occurred during Paul’s ministry. A girl possessed by the spirit of divination [G4436 – python] followed Paul and company around saying really positive and encouraging things about them!
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination [G4436 – python] met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling [G3132 – manteuomai].
The Greek word translated as “fortune-telling” is manteuomai [G3132] actually means “to prophesy like a seer”! (See footnotes.)
Let’s take this just a little deeper.
The root word for manteuomai is mainomai [G3105] which means “to rant and rave” like you are out of your mind!
So let’s work these definitions into the story.
This girl was possessed by the spirit of python [divination]. Prophesying like a seer, she made a lot of money for her masters. Apparently, she was really good at her job of mimicking the prophetic gift.
Seeing the successful ministry of the apostles, she was quick to recognize an opportunity to be noticed. Jumping on their coattails, she followed them, crying out “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
“Ranting and raving” like a lunatic, she proclaimed TRUE things about Paul and his disciples.
It was true that they were servants of the Most High, and it was true that they proclaimed the Way of Salvation to the people. Notice that the girl was able to say all these things – even while under the influence of a spirit other than the Holy Spirit.
But this really annoyed Paul. Why?
Because she was operating under a false prophetic gifting. She was “prophesying” (manteuomai [G3132]) under the influence of a spirit of divination (python). It appeared as if she were supporting God’s Work, but in truth she was destroying it by bringing attention to man and not calling people to repentance! If she were truly prophesying by the Spirit of God, she would have been calling people back to God’s commands, not bringing attention to something or someone else.
We have the same type of false prophets behind (and in front of) pulpits today, who speak accurate words and loudly sing the praises of God, yet they operate under a strong spirit of divination (python). You can recognize them by their words (again, see Scriptural Witness #4) as well as their manifestations.
Manifestations that are Both Physical and Spiritual in Nature
Prophetic manifestations can also be a combination of both physical AND spiritual forces. This is a particularly harmful situation, because it means that a demonic spirit and the flesh are working together. The demonic spirit no longer needs to exert control over this person because he/she is freely, willfully and independently submitting to the will of that spirit.
We see a perfect example of this in the false prophet Zedekiah. (Read all of 1 Kings 22 for context).
Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah had made horns of iron for himself; and he said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘With these you shall gore the Syrians until they are destroyed.'”
This part of the passage shows a physical manifestation performed by Zedekiah. The false prophet was not forced by any spirit to make the horns of iron; he just wanted to put on an elaborate show for the kings. He wanted to show the kings and the people in the court, “Hey, the spirit is on me!”
To the dismay of King Ahab (and Zedekiah), the true prophet Micaiah countered this prophecy and gave a negative report based upon what the Spirit of God showed him.
And he said, “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, ‘These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.'”
Nowadays, if Micaiah had given a real prophetic word in one of our prophetic churches, he would have been either ignored or dismissed as an angry prophet in need of a revelation of God’s grace.
As part of Micaiah’s negative report, God gave Zedekiah, Jehoshaphat, Ahab and us a glimpse behind the scenes of what was occurring in the spirit realm, as well as a deeper understanding of how false prophets cooperate with a lying spirit.
And he said, “Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
Notice that it is God who puts the lying spirit in the mouth of the false prophets? I wish I could go down this rabbit trail, but this passage in 1 Kings 22:23 ties directly in to Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 2 Thessalonians 2 (particularly verses 11-12). I’ll leave you to study it out on your own.
So we see that Zedekiah made horns of iron using his own free will, but then God sent a lying spirit and spoke through his lips. It’s the perfect combination.
Was Zedekiah deceived?
Obviously… but I believe that Zedekiah “thought” he was doing the right thing. I don’t think he was intentionally trying to be malicious and deceive the king.
Hmmmm… that sounds familiar. (See Scriptural Witness #1.)
The Manifestation “Hot Button”
No matter if it is spiritual, physical or both, the issue of “manifesting the Holy Spirit” is a real sensitive topic for many wrapped up in the prophetic movement. They have been trained to believe that any spiritual activity that gives them a good feeling must be from God, so there is a lot of misguided zeal (to put it gently). If you question the validity of these manifestations, things can get ugly really quickly, or even violent.
Nobody wants to be confronted with (or admit to) the fact that they may be manifesting a lying demon, or just plain lying.
This same type of situation occurred in 1 Kings. The false prophet Zedekiah, although he may have meant well, did NOT like to hear that he was under the influence of a lying spirit!
Now Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near and struck Micaiah on the cheek, and said, “Which way did the spirit from the LORD go from me to speak to you?”
I Want to Talk a Little More About “Spiritual Drunkenness”
One of the main spiritual manifestations of our day is what is known as “spiritual drunkenness.”
Although there may be a few fakers in the bunch (especially among the prophets who like to create this atmosphere), I believe that this manifestation is primarily spiritual in nature. People who participate in what have come to be known as “Holy Ghost Parties” sincerely believe they are feeling, partaking of, or interacting with the Holy Spirit. What they don’t realize is that they are actually reaping God’s punishment.
Pause and wonder!
Blind yourselves and be blind!
They are drunk, but not with wine;
They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink.
The spirit of deep sleep,
And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets;
And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers.
Do a study. Search for the words “drunk” and “drunkenness” in the writings of the prophets. It’s almost always associated with God’s wrath and deception.
Of course, the false prophets have their scriptures too. Sometimes they will bring up the following verse in order to justify their behavior.
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit…
They translate this verse to mean that being filled with the Spirit is an alternative to being drunk (or high) and that, somehow, it will have the same effect. But (as usual) they do not consider the rest of the scripture.
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation [asotia – G810]; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
A life that is characterized by being filled with the Spirit is a life full of speaking and singing to each other and God, being thankful and submitting to one another “in the fear of God.”
What does it mean to Submit to One Another “In the Fear of God?”
How do you submit to each other “in the fear of God?” This does not mean that you submit to each other BECAUSE you fear God’s punishment if you don’t.
The Bible states:
The fear of the LORD IS to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.
So, we submit to one another “in the fear of God” with hating evil as a primary objective.
It is right for me to submit to my brother and sister if they tell me that I am breaking the commandments of God, and they should submit to me as well. Together, we hate evil and do everything possible to be rid of it in our lives.
That is how you submit to each other “in the fear of God.”
The Word of God states:
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be SOBER, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
“Not Conforming Yourselves to the Former Lusts.”
A lot of these people that manifest this type of drunken behavior are children of the 60’s and/or former druggies of a more recent vintage.
There’s a connection here.
If the enemy cannot entice you to open your mind (or spirit) up through actual drug use, he will entice you to open your mind (or spirit) up through a spiritual imitation. Both methods accomplish the same purpose by causing you to drop your guard so that the enemy can come in and do his bidding.
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Demonic spirits are MORE than able to affect a person’s thoughts and emotions (even physical being) if his/her mind is not renewed according to the written Word of God, or if they are consistently walking in some form of disobedience.
When God Really Touches You
After reading all of this, don’t get the idea that that God can’t (or won’t) move upon an individual, even to the point of a physical manifestation. Believe me, if the King of the Universe comes into contact with dirt (you and me), something is gonna move. At the same time, something is going to be changed forever!
So, in summary, if you see a bunch of “moving and shaking” going on with an alleged prophet (or his followers) with no lasting change in their lives… if you hear “word” after “word” after endless “word” without any righteous effect in the hearers, you can pretty much count on it being a bunch of hooey.
There may be signs, wonders and lots of “God-talk,” but if they are not leading you to “God’s instructions and teachings,” it is because they are “completely in the dark.” (Isaiah 8:20 NLT)