14 signs of false prophets

Marko Joensuu         No comments
False prophets spread fear, give false hope that leads to disillusionment, speculate about the future, and often boast of real or imagined spiritual experiences. They find sin where there is no sin but conceal sin where repentance is needed.

But worst of all, they give a false testimony about God's nature and discourage people from seeking the genuine gift of prophecy.

 False prophets come as no surprise to Jesus. He said,

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)


Jeremiah’s problem

Prophet Jeremiah faced a problem. God had given him a clear message but it contradicted the message of every other prophet—both Baal and Yahweh's. He must have felt slightly confused. Who was telling the truth? Then God answered him.

“And the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.’” (Jeremiah 14:14)

But that the prophets prophesied lies was only a part of the problem.

“An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30–31)

The people preferred the lies of the false prophets to the true message of Jeremiah, as they seemed to promise them a better future than him. But that was not the end of the story.

“‘Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the Lord, ‘who steal My words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets,’ says the Lord, ‘who use their tongues and say, “He says.” Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,’ says the Lord, ‘and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:30-32)

In the end, false prophecy will turn out to be unprofitable to those who believe in it. 

False prophecies linked to ISIS and Islam

But false prophets don't always just give promises of a better future. They can also be professional scaremongers. And right now, these professional scaremongers are utilising the rise of ISIS in the Middle East to their political ends.

Why are Christians fascinated by prophecies spreading fear? For the same reason that other people watch horror movies. Fear is a powerful emotion that makes us feel fully alive. 

Recently, a prominent 'prophet' Rick Joyner shared a "disturbing dream" about ISIS and Latino gangs crossing the border and attacking the United States, especially Texas.
 
Rick writes about the implications of the dream:

“This breach into what is considered the most important house in America is a reflection of the breakdown of security for the whole nation. Those whose most basic responsibility is the defense of our country have not done their job. They have left us vulnerable, and our enemies are now pouring through our porous borders. 

In the prosecution of a crime, you look for a motive, means, and opportunity. Those with the motive to kill Americans and destroy America now have the means and opportunity because of the failure of our government to secure our borders. It does not take a genius or a prophet to know our enemies are not going to let such an opportunity pass by, and our government is leaving the front door open to them, just like the front door of the White House was left open.
 
We are more vulnerable to terrorist attacks now than we have ever been. We will soon pay a terrible price if this is not addressed with the greatest resolve. The most basic responsibility of the federal government is defense, and the most basic defense of a nation begins with securing its borders. Our government leaders are presently guilty of the most basic dereliction of duty or treason. It must be one or the other.”

In essence, Rick is accusing the Obama government of treason for failing to protect itself—solely on the basis of different policy for border control than he supports.

Thankfully, Rick has a cure for the "treason".

“Prophetic timetables do not revolve around U.S. elections, but the upcoming elections are right in the middle of this time of decision that we have been given. As I have been warning since the 2000 elections, every election from then on would be more important than the previous ones for the future of our country, including mid-term elections. This has proven true. If we don’t vote, then we are voting for evil, because evil will fill every vacuum that the righteous allows. We must pray that securing our borders becomes a major issue in the elections and that those who see and understand it are elected.”


So, unless you vote for the Republicans, evil will win! 

Jennifer McClaire, writing for Charisma Magazine endores and explains Rick Joyner’s dream in her article “The Spiritual Battle Against the Behemoth of Islam”.

“Iraqi Christians are facing extinction as leaders of this demonic movement gain momentum in a holy war that aims to establish a caliphate (an Islamic-ruled state) led by a religious and political leader (caliph) who is a successor to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Whether you call it ISIS, ISIL or the Islamic State, the behemoth of Islam and its radical jihadist adherents are releasing heart-gripping fear through propaganda and beheadings of men, women and children in a quest to dominate the nations of the Earth. Political and prophetic voices alike are warning the Islamic State will wreak natural havoc on Western soil if we don't rise up against it.”

It seems that Rick Joyner's friends, including Cindy Jacobs don't quite know how to deal with the 'prophecy'. Instead of saying it is a false prophecy they discount it as prophetic 'possibility' that should be prayed against. 


But wait—what Rick Joyner is saying isn't even a prophecy but part of a Republican campaign for the Senate. For example, Scott Brown, campaigning for the Senate in New Hampshire, used the threat of ISIS crossing into the US from Mexico as part of his campaign nearly two weeks before Rick Joyner, also 'campaigning' for the Republicans, picked on the theme. Here Scott Brown is talking about it again at Fox News. Also, he actually used the threat of ISIS crossing over the border in his campaign ad!

I don't know what your views are on prophecy, but in my book—and in the Bible—the prophets are supposed to be independent of any political power. Only then they can prophesy faithfully and with integrity. 

When 'prophecy' becomes an integral part of political campaigning, it is time to call it what it is—false prophecy.

But like in times of Jeremiah, many people today prefer the false prophecy, as it justifies their lifestyle and political views. 

Islamic prophecies of the apocalypse

But there is a spiritual and not just political dimension to this fearmongering. To really grasp it, we need to make a brief detour into the Islamic prophecies about the impending apocalypse. These apocalyptic visions imagined during the first two centuries of Islamic expansion can best be seen as aberrations of the biblical prophecies about the apocalypse, created as Islamic scholars and leaders 're-purposed' the content of the Bible.

These Islamic prophecies are an integral part of the landscape of ideas in the Muslim world, and many seem to take them seriously—seriously enough to fight a jihad for them. The International Union of Muslim Scholars, led by influential Sunni cleric Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, released a statement in July 2014 concerning the declaration of a "caliphate" by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS). The union said that the caliphate declaration is "null and void" and "lacks any realistic or legitimate standards." 

This might seems like another committee meeting of no significance to us, but it's not, as this is really a fight for the spiritual leadership of Sunni Islam.

The authority of the declaration is based on the the hadith of Muhammad which states that "My ummah will never agree upon an error" which is often cited as a proof for the validity of ijmā'. Sunni Muslims regard ijmā' as the third fundamental source of Sharia law, just after the Qur'an, and Sunnah. While there are differing views over who is considered a part of this consensus, the majority view is split between two possibilities: that religiously binding consensus is the consensus of the entire Muslim community, or that religiously binding consensus is just the consensus of the religiously learned.

With over 200 Sunni religious leaders gathered,  the gathering attempted to send out the message of consensus based on the principle that "My ummah will never agree upon an error".

So, where does ISIS attempt to derive their legitimacy from if not from the consensus? Largely from the Islamic prophecies about the apocalypse and the concept of the caliphate.

ISIS has made a competing claim for leadership in Sunni Islam through declaring the establishment of a caliphate, effectively challenging the validity of ijmā'. In the long run, this can only weaken Sunni Islam, as a kingdom divided cannot stand.

But what evades the awareness of most is that there is an apocalyptic dimension to the call of ISIS to jihad Many radicalised young Muslims travelling to fight for ISIS in Iraq and Syria aren’t just going to fight any jihad. Instead, they are answering the call to join an apocalyptic battle in preparation for the coming of the Mahdi.

In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the 'prophesied' redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine, or nineteen years (according to differing interpretations) before the Day of Judgment and will rid the world of evil. There is no explicit reference to the Mahdi in the Qu'ran, but references to him are found in hadith (the reports and traditions of Muhammad's teachings collected after his death). According to Islamic tradition, the Mahdi's tenure will coincide with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Isa), who is to assist the Mahdi against the Masih ad-Dajjal (literally, the "false Messiah" or Antichrist).

We can see that even Osama bin Laden played this 'prophecy' to his advantage.

According to Islamic apocalyptic 'prophecies', during the time of the Mahdi those under the black flags will march from Khurasan unto Mecca where they will give allegiance to him at the Ka'bah (the black holy cubic structure at Mecca that marks the direction of prayer) and solidify his legitimacy in the Muslim world.  Al Qaeda and ISIS utilise the black flag of Islam in their propaganda.

Where is Khurasan? It is in the modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. And that’s where Osama bin Laden chose to hide until his capture and death. ISIS is an offshoot of Al Qaeda and motivated by the same philosophy, only it has been much more ruthess in its fight against other Muslims many of which it considers apostate.

When Rick Joyner talks about ISIS crossing the border from Mexico to Texas he might not have studied Islamic apocalyctic teaching in detail. He's simply using the fear of ISIS to get more votes for the Republicans.

But other ‘prophets’ in the Charismatic movement have borrowed heavily from these predictions. Perry Stone talks about the Mahdi in his message Are Islamic Prophecies Pointing to Obama? 

There is something very tragic about a teacher of Bible prophecy using Islamic 'prophecies' as his framework when it comes to interpreting modern politics. 

The Bible says,

“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19:31)

According to the Bible, seeking any other source but God to see into the future makes us unclean. 

Why would a Bible teacher even consider Islamic 'prophecies' to be a source of truth?

Jesus told the Pharisees,

“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.” (John 8:44)

We need to understand that the devil won't ever tell us the truth, even when it looks like it. He simply can't do that, because he is a liar to the core of his being.

Joel Richardson makes the same error in his book The Islamic Antichrist, although in his book the Mahdi is the Antichrist rather than fighting against him.Recently, he wrote the article Is ISIS' caliphate a harbinger of the Antichrist?

At best, this is pure speculation. But in no way has this got anything to do with biblical understanding of prophecy.

Paul told the Church in Ephesus:

"As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” (1 Timothy 1:3-7)

Right now, at best, large parts of the Charismatic Church are wasting their time in endless speculation; at worst they are being led astray, as false prophets are robbing them of their true calling.

14 signs of false prophets

There are many signs of the false prophets, and this list is by no means exhaustive, and not in the order of priority.

1. They don't care about history 

One of the main signs of a false prophet is that they don’t care about history. It might sound odd that a person predicting future should care about history, but in fact every prophet should be deeply concerned of the past. 

How can you be certain of fulfilment of prophecies in future if you haven’t reviewed their potential fulfilment in the past? In my article Is There Hope for the Middle East? I look at what this lack of historical understanding means in the context of the Middle East.

2. Their track record is poor

Many prophets have been around for a while, which gives us an opportunity to see their track record. What becomes clear is that the track record of false prophets is often poor, a fact they seek to hide through referring to their own prophecies as "fulfilled" but distorting their original content and wording. They also refer to prophecies they have allegedly given in the past, but there are no records of those prophecies.

John Hagee, for example, has a pretty poor track record. Before the US election in 2012, he said,

“I have said it before and I will say it again: the election on Nov. 6, 2012 for the office of president is the day of decision for America. Four more years of Obama will bring absolute socialism to America. Our children and grandchildren will never know the greatness of America that we have experienced.”

If someone tells me that this prophecy has been fulfilled or is even in danger of being fulfilled, I'd ask him or her to study the definitions of the words 'socialism' and 'capitalism' again. The inequality gap in the US has been widening during Obama's tenure, perhaps not because of him, but regardless of him, and big business is still in control of the nation. The United States is no more or less socialist than before Obama's first tenure.

This is hardly the first time John Hagee has got a prophecy wrong. In his book The Beginning of the End: The Assassination of Yitzak Rabin, published soon after Rabin's assassinationin 1995, John Hagee predicts that Rabin’s assassination will lead to a false peace and the most devastating war Israel has ever known.

“The peace process will cease to become a political action; it will become a spiritual mandate for a nation. Based on the words of the prophets of Israel, I believe this peace process will lead to the most devastating war Israel has ever known.”

This war Hagee predicted never materialised. But instead of ever apologising for false prophecy Hagee keeps on churning out new books in hope that people will forget his old prophecies. 

In my article Why did so many prophets get the US election wrong? I look at the collective failure of the prophets in the USA to predict the Obama's victory; instead, some saw dreams about Romney's rule.

Unfortunately, these poor predictions almost rarely lead to any sort of genuine soul-searching in the prophetic movement. Instead, the prophets blame others—people didn't pray hard enough, etc.

In my article Why Are Most End Time Books So Bad for Us? I look at why clearly false prophecy still keeps on being popular.

3. They don’t care about what the Bible actually says

False prophets often make a lot of noise about believing in the Bible, but in practice they pay only cursory attention to it at best.

But the truth is that if you have a prophetic gift you need to study the Bible even harder than anyone else.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Every prophet absolutely needs to study the Bible to increase their spiritual discernment. We are all surrounded by many spiritual influences, and prophets especially are in danger, as they are seeking or should be seeking to hear God more than most, and the enemy will seek to hijack their ability to hear in the spiritual realm.

We can see how recklessly much of the Charismatic Church ignores the Bible when it comes to current popular teaching about angels.

Todd Bentley told about Emma, an angel behind "prophetic movements":

“Now let me talk about an angelic experience with Emma. Twice Bob Jones asked me about this angel that was in Kansas City in 1980: 'Todd, have you ever seen the angel by the name of Emma?' He asked me as if he expected that this angel was appearing to me. Surprised, I said, 'Bob, who is Emma?' He told me that Emma was the angel that helped birth and start the whole prophetic movement in Kansas City in the 1980s."

Later on, in the same article, he talks about Emma visiting a church:

“I believe Emma released a financial and prophetic anointing in that place. That was the first angel that I have ever seen in the form of a woman.”

Most prophetic leaders in the Charismatic movement never sought to correct neither Bob Jones nor Todd Bentley on their false teaching about angels releasing a prophetic anointing. In the Bible, there is only one Spirit who can give a gift of prophecy—the Holy Spirit—and there will never be a need for another one!

Parts of the Charismatic Church are dangerously flirting with the angel stories. I guess it's human nature to be more excited of what you can see potentially—an angel—rather than of someone you can't see—the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul says,

“Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” (Colossians 2:18)

According to Paul, focusing on angels can in fact lead us astray.

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

He adds,

“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Right now, I hear many angel stories in the Charismatic Church but very few prophets even mention the possibility of a demonic being camouflaged as an angel of light. I am sure God's angels are all around us, protecting us, and fighting battles at the command of God to our advantage, but we need to bring our teaching about angels under the jurisdiction of the Bible, as otherwise, we will be in a real danger of being deceived.

 4. They never let facts get on the way of a good story

False prophets are not that bothered about fact-checking. John Hagee's bestselling book Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change is a classic example of not letting the facts get on the way of a good story. The whole theory doesn’t really stand any scrutiny. There are many ways to debunk the 'blood moon theory'—Dr. Joel McDurmon, Robert Reiland and Shoebat Foundation give us some. The bottom line is that John Hagee has had to twist the facts with violence to fit them into his theory, much like forcing a square peg into a round hole.

But what attracts us to these kinds of theories? It is apophenia, the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term is attributed to Klaus Conrad by Peter Brugger, who defined it as the "unmotivated seeing of connections" accompanied by a "specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness", but it has come to represent the human tendency to seek patterns in random information in general, such as with gambling and paranormal phenomena.

Put simply, human mind has a tendency to twist the facts so that they conform to a pattern, and this makes books and theories looking for a pattern in a seeminly chaotic world attractive to us, to the point that some people are willing to ignore facts altogether. But faith is not about ignoring facts; it is about living in obedience to God in a real world. Being a prophet doesn't give anyone the license to ignore facts.

5. They give vague predictions

The subtitle of Four Blood Moons—something is about to change—captures the vagueness of many modern 'prophecies' accurately. As the world is always changing, something will change, but to be classified as prophecy, this kind of statement must be backed up with a little more detail.

If I tell you that something terrible will happen in 2015, there will be enough negative events taking place in 2015 for my 'prophecy' to be fulfilled. 

One of the most popular versions of this kind of guess is that a revival is about to break forth. Yes, revival will break forth somewhere because God is good, but most 'prophecies' about revivals aren't anything more than wishful guesses. There are genuine prophecies about revivals but the deluge of revival 'wishes' has caused the situation where it is near-impossible to discern between a wish for revival and a genuine prophecy for revival. And when it comes to the fulfillment of a 'prophecy' about a revival, anything goes! I remember reading recently about five people being filled with the Holy Spirit—thanks to God!—and that being declared a major revival in a charismatic magazine.

6. They use other sources than the Bible

If a prophecy refers to any other source than the Bible or hearing from God extensively, there is a near 100% chance that it is a false prophecy. When prophetic teachers rely on sayings of Muhammad, or Mormon teachings, such as the White Horse Prophecy, as Rick Joyner did before the election in 2012, you can be certain that it is a false prophecy.

Also, prophecies that rely extensively on the news tend to be false prophecies, as all they do is tell us what's already taking place in the world, rather than what God is intending to do.


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7. They focus on signs rather than God 

With false prophets, any sign will be valid; the more impressive, the better! We need to be careful when people focus on strange phenomena such as angel feathers, golddust and diamonds discovered on the floor. I still don't get why anyone thinks that angels could have feathers, as they are spirits! I don't think we need to shut every phenomena out; all I am saying is that if and when these pheneomena occur, it is wise to have a look at the prophet's teaching very carefully. What are they actually teaching? And what kind of atmosphere has taken over the place where they minister? Is it full of the presence of God, or is it focused on man? 

Personally, I was heavily impacted by the Toronto Blessing, although I never visited Toronto, but this move of God visited our church, and there were strange phenomena such as oil on people's hands which seemed to have come from God. But no one in our church was looking for them; we were hungry for the presence of God.

Jesus said,  

"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand." (Matthew 24:24-25)

Jesus told us beforehand that great signs and wonders by themselves are never a sign that somebody follows Him. We need to be discerning in this area, as signs and wonders can also come from God. But not all of them. And right now, it seems that large part of the Charismatic Church is happy with any sign—whether from God or not. But we must remember that the devil is the greatest illusionist of all time.

False prophets point to signs to emphasise their own importance and specialness, rather than the amazing power of God.

8. They tell you they can give you something no one else can

When prophets tell you that they can give you something no one else can, they are always lying. Yes, God can use an individual in our life, but equally, He can use anyone else. And anyone who claims to live closer to God than you and tries to make you dependent on them rather than advising you on how to live closer to God is a liar. And many of these false prophets appeal to our greed, promising prosperity if only you sow into their ministry.

9. They respect man more than God

Many genuine prophets are being drawn into error because they are unwilling to criticise their friends. Part of the problem is unhealthy teaching about different levels of ability when it comes the gift of prophecy, with the office of the prophet being on top of the food chain. With that comes an assumption that someone who has attained the office of a prophet can always hear from God. And that is dangerous, as we are respecting man too much. Yes, there are different levels of maturity when it comes to the prophetic gift, but none of them work independently from God. And no matter how long I have been in the prophetic ministry, I still need to love my neighbour and spend time in the presence of God—otherwise I will be in danger of going astray.

It is only natural that we want to support our friends and not fight them. But we must be willing to correct them rather than endorse them when they are clearly in the wrong.

"Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, 'If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?'" (Galatians 2:11-14)

The apostle Paul wasn't afraid to confront the apostle Peter when he was clearly in the wrong, even leading Barnabas astray.

 Also, Jeremiah 23:30 says,  “'Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,' says the Lord, 'who steal My words every one from his neighbor.'''

When we begin to present the words of other prophets as our own, or repeat other prophets' prophecies as if they were the Word of God, without testing them, we are in the danger zone.

There is a story in 1 Kings 13 that provides us with a warning.

"And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, 'O altar, altar! Thus says the Lord: "Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you."' And he gave a sign the same day, saying, 'This is the sign which the Lord has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out.'

So it came to pass when King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, who cried out against the altar in Bethel, that he stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, 'Arrest him!' Then his hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered, so that he could not pull it back to himself. The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LordThen the king answered and said to the man of God, 'Please entreat the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.'

So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him, and became as before. Then the king said to the man of God, 'Come home with me and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.' But the man of God said to the king, 'If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, "You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came."' So he went another way and did not return by the way he came to Bethel.
 
Now an old prophet dwelt in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel; they also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king. And their father said to them, 'Which way did he go?' For his sons had seen which way the man of God went who came from Judah. Then he said to his sons, 'Saddle the donkey for me.' So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it,  and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. Then he said to him, 'Are you the man of God who came from Judah?'

And he said, 'I am.' Then he said to him, 'Come home with me and eat bread.' And he said, 'I cannot return with you nor go in with you; neither can I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place. For I have been told by the word of the Lord, "You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came."'
 
He said to him, 'I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, "Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water."' (He was lying to him.) So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water. Now it happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; and he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, 'Thus says the Lord: "Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord, and have not kept the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you,  but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the Lord said to you, 'Eat no bread and drink no water,' your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers."'

So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. And there, men passed by and saw the corpse thrown on the road, and the lion standing by the corpse. Then they went and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.

Now when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard it, he said, 'It is the man of God who was disobedient to the word of the Lord. Therefore the Lord has delivered him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke to him.'" (1 Kings 13:1-26)

God tested the young prophet with the king. Unlike many prophets today, the youg prophet passed the test of money and corrupting political power, but the test of the old prophet with an angel story proved too much for him!

The five spiritual movements in the 
Lord's Prayer help you develop your prophetic gift.

10. They have an unbiblical political agenda

The Old Testament prophets often had a political agenda but it was strikingly different from many agendas of today. More than anything else, the Old Testament prophets stood for justice and for the poor. Today, it seems that most 'prophets' stand against justice and the poor.

Zechariah 7:8-10 says,

“Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.”

Jeremiah 7:4-12 says,

"Do not trust in these deceptive words: 'This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.' For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors forever and ever."

Malachi 3:5 says,

"Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts."

Deuteronomy 27:19 says
“Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of justice.”

This cry for justice is nearly completely missing from the vocabulary of most modern prophets in the Charismatic movement.

11. They spread fear

When John Hagee 'prophesies' that Ebola is God's judgment on America because Obama is "trying to divide Jerusalem" even when it has affected West Africa rather than the United States, he is playing with people's fears. There is absolutely zero chance that Ebola could be a judgment of America simply because it hasn't and won't affect America that much!

You must ask yourself the question why any 'prophet' would focus their attention to spread fear and panic. That is not from the Spirit of God, but manipulating people for personal gain.

12. They preach hate

Many of the modern prophets preach hate, undoubtedly  trying to emulate the Old Testament prophets, but not having the compassion these Old Testament prophets had, regardless of their seemingly harsh words. Preaching hate always breaks the command of Jesus to love our enemies.

13. They twist the meaning of words

When nothing else works, false prophets twist the meaning of words. This ambiguity rather than sharpness when it comes to their words is designed to make it harder to catch their lies. 

This happens especially when their prophecies aren't fulfilled. What was once certain becomes symbolic, a prediction becomes only a warning, and so on.

14. They look a lot better from a distance

False prophets are illusionists who reduce prophecy to stagecraft. They always look better from a distance. Jesus said,
 
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27-28)

When you look at the ministry of Jesus, you realise that the people who knew Him best also believed in Him most because thay had seen His life from a close distance. Later on, His disciples were willing to die for Him. Jesus practiced what He preached. 

False prophets radiate 'spirituality' only on stage, but you won't see he fruit of the Spirit in their everyday life. Often, false prophets surround themselves with a "trusted circle" and keep everyone else out. This "trusted circle" keeps everyone else from seeing the lack of Christ-likeness they exhibit in their everyday life, so that the illusion of righteousness won't be broken.

No false prophet exhibits all 14 of these signs, and I am sure you can find more. The best way to know whether someone is a genuine prophet is to see whether they display the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. But often we don't have the opportunity to get close enough to people to see whether they actually follow Jesus in their daily life.

In my book Five Movements: Winning the Battle for Your Prophetic Gift I look at how to develop your prophetic gift in such a way that you won't be led astray or deceived by your flesh or the enemy.



Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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