From what I’ve written so far, a clearer image of the false prophet should be forming in your mind. In fact, you should see each scriptural witness set forth in this series overlapping or connecting with the others, like pieces in a giant puzzle. We have 3 more pieces to go, in order complete this puzzle, so let’s keep going!
Satan and His Disciples Cannot Create Anything
No matter how badly he wants to, Satan cannot create anything because he is not the Creator. Satan can only take what has already been created and twist it for his own evil, selfish purposes. His servants are no different.
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
Taking on the nature of their father, the false prophets will arrogantly claim to be enlightened ministers of the Gospel. They want you to think that they are people who have tapped into the spiritual resources of the heavenly realm, but no matter how hard they try, authentic prophecy always seems elude them.
To compensate for this lack of authenticity, these imposters will:
- Take what our Father says and pervert it;
- Repeat what has been prophesied before;
- Take a prior false prophet’s prophecy and twist it further.
Usually, you will find the latter 2 to be the most common.
In the earlier days of the prophetic movement, the “prophetic forerunners” like Bob Jones, Paul Cain, and Mike Bickle would take the Word of God and twist it to fit their own agendas. Presently, the children of the movement will hang on every word that pours forth from their mouths as IF it were the Word of God and read the Word of God (if they read the Word at all) through their “father’s” perverted lens. They only SEE what they’ve been instructed to SEE and UNDERSTAND what they’ve been instructed to UNDERSTAND.
All critical thinking has been tossed out the door.
Like the forerunners of the 80’s and 90’s, present day false prophets take advantage of this gullibility and ignorance in their followers to further their own ministries as well as the agenda of the prophetic movement. Most of the younger prophets have no idea that they are doing this; they are merely following the business/ministry model that they have been shown by those who have gone before. Convinced that they have special inroads into the Father’s presence and are doing the Father’s work, they do not realize that they are taking on the mantle of the Pharisees.
Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees, said:
You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
What is the Truth that Jesus is referring to?
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
What was considered God’s Word before the New Testament was written? The Torah and the Prophets! The very books that the false prophets avoid, unless a couple verses happen to support their ideology.
Prophetic Empires Build On Repetition
Another way the false prophets take advantage of the ignorance and gullibility of their followers is by methodically repeating each other’s twisted and perverted prophecies. These inaccurate and rehashed prophecies are readily absorbed by the listener, who would rather rely on the word of man than the Word of God. This, too, serves to further the prophetic ministry and agenda.
There is a lot of money to be made from selling the “prophetic word from God.” You can create your own little mini-empire from it and live comfortably! Because of this, false prophets have no problem taking each other’s material, tweaking it to sound just a little different, and then promoting it as a new revelation from God. This is done all the time, and the sheeple devour it because:
- They don’t think for themselves.
- They don’t study the Word of God for themselves.
~ and ~
- They love to worship their prophetic idols.
Yes, “prophetic ADHD’ is alive and well in the charismatic church. It is uncanny how the sheeple so easily “forget” that the prophet (or one of his/her comrades) boldly proclaimed an IDENTICAL message just a short time earlier. Is this a willful ignorance? Most of the time, I believe it is.
The key verse in this installment holds some of the strongest language I’ve read about how God feels about the “business” of reusing each other’s false prophecy and putting God’s name on it.
“Therefore,” says the LORD, “I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me. I am against these smooth-tongued prophets who say, ‘This prophecy is from the LORD!'”
From reading the verses above, I can’t help but feel like the Father is insulted by a false prophet’s lack of ingenuity. And there is no scriptural evidence to suggest that the recycling of prophetic messages became an acceptable practice in the New Testament, either.
Why do the false prophets find it acceptable to use each others’ prophetic words?
- It supports the errant doctrine of the prophetic empire. – Both the prophetic movement and all the individual ministries benefit from this practice, in the long run. Because they have created (and continue to create) a mindset among their listeners, every time the word is repeated, it reinforces the desired mindset.
- It energizes a false prophet’s self-deception. – As we have read in Chapter 1, many of these prophets are genuinely nice people, but they are very deceived. As they hear these words and phrases from what they think is the Spirit of God, somehow it reinforces in their minds the delusion that God is speaking to them. But they are not hearing from God. They are either hearing from a deceiving spirit, or they have just heard that “word” before from someone else. This error occurs because they have not been taught to discern between the Holy Spirit, another spirit, and their own thoughts and opinions.
Discerning Prophetic Agreement
While studying this in the Word, a student can quickly find a possible conflict.
Many of the Old Testament prophets agreed with each other, and had almost identical messages for Israel. Knowing that the Father is against people who steal prophetic words from each other, and yet His own prophets appeared to be speaking the same thing, how do we balance that out?
What’s the difference between prophetic agreement and stealing? If the modern day prophets are saying the same thing (or virtually the same thing) as each other, is it God confirming His Word? Or should we assume that they are just deceived people agreeing over error, and ignore it?
As I mentioned in chapter 3, Deuteronomy 18:20-22 firmly instructs us that when a prophecy is given and doesn’t come to pass, the person who gave it is to be labeled as a false prophet and should be ignored. If a person who is already known as a false prophet by that scriptural criteria is taking it upon him/herself to prophesy words that are eerily similar to those of other prophets, that person’s credibility has already been lost because they’re a false prophet. They’re already walking in error, so we are instructed to ignore them.
But if the person prophesying has not already “fit the bill” as a false prophet, we need to consider the content of the prophecy.
Here are a couple of questions to ask.
- Does the agreed upon prophecy hold true to the core message of the prophet?
- Does the content hold true to the core message of a prophet, or does it distract? Remember the core message of the prophet?
- At its core, does the message call people back to the commandments of God, or does it marginalize repentance and bring other concepts to the forefront?
- Does the agreed upon prophecy prophesy peace to a sinful people?
In this book, we’ve studied many verses that show how a false prophet will preach a soft message to those who really need sharp rebuke.
The false prophets in Ahab’s day preached a positive message to a most sinful king (1 Kings 16:30, 21:25). They all agreed together that God was going to prosper the king’s campaign against his enemies (1 Kings 22:12). That obviously did not work out so well (1 Kings 22:35), which leads me to my next point.
Does the agreed upon prophecy come true?
The false prophets agreed that the King was going to have success, when in fact, he died. Their foretelling obviously did not come to pass. In the same way, false prophets will agree upon MANY different points that:
- Contradict or ignore the message of the prophet;
- Preach peace to a sinful people;
- Do not come true.
However, if the prophets are agreeing on a message that embraces the following points, you can rest assured that it is a true prophecy:
- True prophecy will validate and endorse the core message of the prophet;
- True prophecy will preach against the sin of a sinful people;
- True prophecy will come true.
Hopefully, this will help you determine whether or not the agreement between prophecies is God validating His Word, or just a bunch of “prophetic people” agreeing over an erroneous message that sounds good to the itching ear.
What Kinds of Catch Phrases do False prophets Borrow from One Another
Modern day false prophets who get a “new revelation from God” usually trumpet a list of similar prophetic terms and catchphrases. Whether or not they’ve had a dream or vision, or just want to jump back into the limelight, all they have to do is avail themselves of these terms, write something about it and release it to their mailing list and [BANG] the masses are focused on them again. Product sales go up and life is “good.”
Here is a list of commonly used (and abused) catch phrases and terms that are tossed around whenever a prophet/prophetess wants to be noticed. The list is far from complete, but it should give you a pretty good idea as to what to look for.
- Open Doors – Open Gates
- Revival – Revival Fire
- New Season
- Realignment – Promotion – Prosperity
- Paradigm Shift
- Dreams & Visions
- Healing, Signs & Wonders
Searching the Elijah List or Identity Network web sites for any of the above keywords will show you how often these terms are utilized by the false prophets. Words from the list above are liberally peppered throughout the entire prophetic database. And yet, there is still this strange lack of fulfillment. If even 10% of these prophecies would come true, believers would be faring way better than they are today.
I Believe that the Supernatural is Real
In writing this chapter, I don’t want to give the impression that I stand against or don’t believe in the phenomena I have listed above. I certainly believe most of them are in the realm of possibility, although there are a few that I am not 100% certain about.
Regardless of how I feel, according to Scripture, these tokens of God’s favor are not to be the focus of true prophecy. I am not denying that Ezekiel, Isaiah and others experienced these things, and it is not out of the question that we might experience them as well, but the focus of any prophecy is not the phenomenon, but the message.
What is the Father saying to us?
Like Sheep Without a Shepherd
There is a reason that the enemy distracts from God’s Word using recycled “prophetic words” and man-made prophetic slogans. It is to keep the sheeple in a constant state of flux. Those who listen to cookie-cutter false prophets and adhere to their false prophecies are always going from one thing to another. There is no stability.
But this is not God’s way. He has provided commandments/guidelines for us and a way of life that naturally causes us to reflect the stability of His nature.
Contrary to the dispensational doctrine that has been shoved down our throats, our God does not change (Malachi 3:6), and a follower of the Messiah who changes with each passing prophecy (and prophetic fad) cannot hope to reflect the nature of his/her God.
Our walk with God was meant to be simple. His commandments are simple. His ways are simple… they were always simple.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you CAN obey it.
When Jesus came to this earth, He saw a people who were not living lives of simple obedience to God, but were victims of the false teachings of their time. The prophecy of Jeremiah regarding Israel had come to pass.
My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray and turned them loose in the mountains. They have lost their way and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold.
As He watched them, His heart broke for them. They had no guidance and no stability. Their shepherds were preaching their own doctrines as if they were from God, and the sheeple listened.
Why did they listen? Because that’s what they were taught to do.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted [G1590 – eklyo], and were scattered abroad [G4496 – rhipto], as sheep having no shepherd.
The Greek word “eklyo” means to be set free, but weak and tired.
“Rhipto” means to be thrown down.
This is the fruit of following the ever-changing ways of man (Ephesians 4:14).
The Pharisees, who claimed to follow God, had added hundreds of rules and regulations to something that was intended to be a simple way of living (Deuteronomy 30:11-14). They came together in agreement over this extraneous, unscriptural teaching and ELEVATED it above the Word of God (Matthew 15:3). This is why Jesus came down hard on the Pharisees. They were in agreement over error and were leading the people astray. But, being the Good Shepherd that He is, He came to right that wrong and gather His sheep together.
But he answered and said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
How would Jesus gather His sheep together? David, a man after God’s own heart, gives us a clue.
I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.
It’s the following of His commandments that will gather us “together in one,” not joining denominations in order to feed the poor or putting on a city-wide worship service. “Agreeing to disagree” will only accomplish a superficial peace, but will not heal the division between us or bring us into “unity of the faith.”
The only way to be gathered together as one is to embrace the Kingdom rule by returning to His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This is never included in a false prophet’s message. Rather, he/she will teach you to seek for heavenly encounters and expect paradigm shifts, keeping you unstable and tossed to and fro (Ephesians 4:14).
Becoming Truly “Prophetic”
As the false prophets re-use and abuse the Word of God, conforming it to their purposes and augmenting it with their own prophetic catchphrases and tales of supernatural phenomena, the sheep stay confused, wending their way to and fro, thinking that they are free, but still enslaved to their sin.
God explicitly says in His Word that He is against this foolishness.
I want to exhort you, if you haven’t opened your eyes yet, DO SO! Don’t follow the “group think” of those who ignorantly follow the latest prophetic catchphrases and fads. Return to the Father in repentance and take on His ways by obeying His commandments, discerning between the Holy and the profane.
Then, you will be a “sign and a wonder” for those to whom you are sent.
Then, you will truly be “prophetic.”