Before I conclude this book, I want to address just a couple more issues that I believe will assist you in your discernment of false prophets and their tactics.
The Prophetic Movement is Built on Corrupt Data
Most companies that rely on computers to store customer and product information use a database. As a company grows, their database goes from a very small and simple source of information to a very complex and detailed program. During the creation and implementation of a database, it is imperative that the foundational structure of the database is absolutely perfect before you start adding information to it. If the database structure has undiscovered errors or disconnects, it can wreak havoc in the future.
If a company has used a faulty database for any length of time and an error is finally discovered, they will often look for some sort of “quick-fix” rather than rebuild the whole database, because the rebuild is usually expensive and inconvenient, but this is a HUGE mistake.
Once the issues are discovered, ignoring them (or postponing the rebuild for a later date) will only make things worse for the company. It is even possible that the data (or the database) can become so corrupted that the company will have to wipe the slate clean and start over. Nonetheless, many organizations still choose the quick-fix as a temporary solution. If they take this route, the chances are great that they will need to use another quick-fix in the future. I’ve even seen situations where a “quick-fix” was needed to repair a prior “quick-fix!”
Soon, the database begins to resemble Frankenstein’s monster as they keep adding parts to a body of work that was flawed from its inception.
This analogy is very similar to what has happened with the “Prophetic” movement (and the “Word of Faith” movement, to some extent).
Prophets and Prophecy are NOT What You’ve Been Taught
When you take scripturally incorrect definitions of terms like “prophet,” “prophecy,” and “prophesy” and mix them together with dispensational thinking, lies and demonically-inspired supernatural encounters, then present them to sincere people who desire an intimate relationship with God (albeit on their terms), you have a great recipe for a movement that will lead millions off the path of righteousness.
The founding fathers of this movement did not study the core terms mentioned above (prophet, prophecy, and prophesy). They merely read 1 Corinthians 14, applied dispensational thinking (which basically pits the “Nice God” of the New Testament against the “Mean God” of the Old Testament, among other errors) and added in their own “divine revelation” based upon supernatural encounters of a questionable nature.
In doing all of the above, they have managed to completely twist, rearrange and transform the entire prophetic vocabulary in the Word of God.
- They claim that the function of the prophet (and the nature of prophecy) has changed.
- They claim that now prophecy is only about encouragement – its sole purpose is to make you feel good about yourself.
- They claim that if conviction (they call it condemnation) comes as a result of a prophecy, then it is from the devil.
- Only seasoned prophets are allowed to bring any form of correction, and even then, it will happen only on a rare occasion.
You will find this kind of perversion on prophetic web sites all over the Internet.
Such a philosophy is a load of… well, let’s just say that it is “scripturally incorrect.”
As I’ve stated before, 1 Corinthians 14 has been used (incorrectly) to justify all sorts of error in the prophetic movement. For a deeper understanding of this often misapplied chapter, check out my article “New Testament Prophecy – Understanding 1 Corinthians 14,” which I’ve included in this book as Appendix C.
From Genesis to Revelation, our God does not change, nor do His spokesmen, the Prophets. This is obvious to anyone who reads his bible. Do you remember the core message of the prophet?
This is NOT what the false prophets preach, and this is NOT what the prophetic movement believes. They believe their own little man-made doctrines supersede what the Word of God says. And they call discernment ministries “Pharisees?”
Let’s use our logic for a moment. If you base an entire “movement” on errant definitions of core terms (in this case “prophets” and “prophecy”), can you ever hope to walk in truth? Can you ever hope to walk in a true prophetic gifting?
No way. Not even close.
If you have an entire movement based on the wrong definition and application of core terms, you are already walking in deception from the start. Not to mention, you are opening wide the door for even greater deception to enter in.
The false prophets will try to add quick-fixes when the errors show themselves. Most of us who are familiar with the prophetic movement remember Bill Johnson and Rick Joyner’s sketchy “restoration” of Todd Bentley. That, dear readers, was the mother of all quick-fixes.
Other false prophets try to ignore their errors entirely, hoping the after effects will go away or somehow right themselves without effort from them, and train their disciples to apply the same logic. How many times are we going to ignore Kim Clement’s failed prophecies before we label him a false prophet?
This is all just a vain attempt to put lipstick on a pig, folks.
Like the faulty database mentioned earlier, the data is tainted and the delivery mechanisms are completely corrupted. This is not by accident, nor is it because we (or they) are “only human.” This is due to a gross negligence toward the Word of God and a lack of willingness to face the truth by the false prophets and their followers.
In order to have a true “Prophetic Movement” inspired by the Word and Spirit of God, an entire restructure and rebuild needs to happen. And, I confess, I don’t quite know how it is going to happen or what it’s going to look like. All I know is that we need to 1) repent and 2) have the written Word of God as our foundation.
Let’s do a little “side jump” to another topic before I close this book.
The Testimony of Jesus – The Spirit of Prophecy
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” is one of many tidbits of Scripture that has been tossed around by self-proclaimed prophets without the knowledge of what it really means. It leaves the unlearned with the inaccurate impression that, just as long as Jesus is being preached, the spirit of prophecy is present. Let’s take a closer look at what the Scripture says about it.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.“
Usually when people read the above Scripture, they do not read it impartially; they read it through the lens they were taught to use. They don’t ask themselves, “What is the ‘Testimony of Jesus?'” In their minds, it is just a given that “The Testimony OF Jesus” is synonymous with “The Testimony ABOUT Jesus.” This is wrong.
“The Testimony OF Jesus” is Jesus’ testimony. It is what Jesus was saying while He testified on this earth. What did Jesus testify? The following Scripture gives us a good hint.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.
Am I re-interpreting Scripture? No, I am not. I just refuse to spiritualize a verse when a much more practical explanation is available. The fact is that you and I can preach on Jesus all day long without the spirit of prophecy being present. Look at all the false prophets and the “Jesus” they preach.
- Joel Osteen preaches a “feel good” Jesus;
- Kenneth Copeland preaches a “prosperity” Jesus;
- Chad Taylor preaches an “altruistic” Jesus;
- Brian “Hed” Welch preaches a “metalhead” Jesus;
- John Crowder preaches a “drunk/stoner” Jesus.
These false prophets do not testify that the works of this world are evil, therefore they do not preach the testimony of Jesus. If they do not preach the testimony of Jesus, then the spirit of prophecy is not present.
True prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel had the same testimony as the ULTIMATE PROPHET, Jesus of Nazareth. They preached against the sins of the world AND the sins of the people who professed to belong to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The world and the religious posers hated them for it. But the Messiah obviously felt differently.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
He also has something to say about the false prophets who preach “another Jesus” devoid of the spirit of prophecy.
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
You only need two or three witnesses to “establish” a false prophet.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Ten witnesses from Scripture describing false prophets from ancient times up to the present. Not much has changed.
Remember, the Word of God says:
In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
I have given you ten witnesses, all backed up by an exhaustive amount Scripture and I’m sure there are plenty more witnesses that you can find if you search for them. I greatly encourage you to do so.
Now, go to the Elijah List links page and apply these principles to the ministries that you see listed on that page.
- Do they look like sheep?
- Do they draw a crowd?
- Do they speak presumptuously?
- Do they lead you away from God’s Commands?
- Do they mimic the Spirit of God?
- Do they have false dreams and visions?
- Do they always have an “encouraging word?”
- Do they never seem to have an original thought?
- Do they perform miracles, signs and wonders?
- Do they produce bad fruit?
Remember, you only need two or three witnesses to have a biblically-certified false prophet, but don’t be surprised if you find that all TEN of these witnesses apply to some.
This quest to discern false prophets should not end with the Elijah List and their associated ministries. I want to encourage you to apply these criteria to ALL people who claim to operate prophetically.
Don’t worry about offending the alleged “prophet” by doing this. If they are a true prophet of the Most High, they won’t mind being held to the standard of His Word.
In fact, they’ll welcome it.
I hope this book has blessed you.
For the Truth,