The corrupting of the prophetic gift and the loss of prophetic authority

Marko Joensuu         No comments

Has someone ever given you an accurate personal prophecy once, but then later given you an inaccurate or clearly false one? Are you confused about the failure of many considered to be prophets in predicting the outcome of the last US presidential election? Were they false prophets from the beginning? 

The Bible makes a clear distinction between false and genuine prophets but says very little about losing or corrupting a genuine prophetic gift. Can it be lost? And if so, why? 

Many years ago, a well-known prophetic leader gave us a remarkably accurate prophetic exhortation, which helped our church to make an important decision that had lasting positive outcomes. But today, most of the prophecies this person gives are clearly nonsense and some demonstrably false. It seems clear that the prophetic authority over that ministry has been lost. 

Many false prophets were con artists from the beginning. They never had the prophetic gift. But others appear to have had a prophetic gift once. 

Some believe that God will never remove any gifts, basing this on Romans 11:29, which says, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”. But the context makes it clear that this applies first and foremost to Israel that will one day return to God.  

But Hebrews 6:4-6 says, 

For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt. 

According to Hebrews, it is possible to fall away from a genuine experience and life in the Holy Spirit.  

And the prophetic gift is not haphazard, giving inconsistent results. In the Bible, any word from God will be fulfilled even when its fulfilment seems to be delayed.  

Ezekiel 12:25 says, “But I the Lord will speak the word that I speak, and it will be fulfilled.” 

Habakkuk 2:3 says, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” 

I have given prophecies which have taken over twenty years to even begin to be fulfilled. But when they have begun their fulfilment, they have been proven 100% precise.  

We know Jeremiah as a genuine prophet. But for most of his life many would have perceived him as a false prophet.  

Jeremiah 25:3 says, “For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, to this day, the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened.” 

Jeremiah prophesied for 23 years, and nothing that he said was taking place. But then destruction came suddenly on Jerusalem. We must be humble and patient regarding prophecies that don’t have a clear expiration date. But on the other hand, if a prophecy has a clear date for fulfilment, such as a prophecy about Trump winning the second term in 2020, we should not seek to “re-date” it afterwards to take place in 2024, as the precise date was an integral part of the prophecy. 

Some say that according to the Old Testament, false prophets were stoned. But that was not the case.  

Deuteronomy 18:22 says, “If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it.” 

But Deuteronomy 13:1-4 says,  

If prophets or those who divine by dreams appear among you and promise you omens or portents,  and the omens or the portents declared by them take place, and they say, “Let us follow other gods” (whom you have not known) “and let us serve them,” you must not heed the words of those prophets or those who divine by dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. The Lord your God you shall follow, him alone you shall fear, his commandments you shall keep, his voice you shall obey, him you shall serve, and to him you shall hold fast. But those prophets or those who divine by dreams shall be put to death for having spoken treason against the Lord your God—who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery—to turn you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. 

An unfulfilled prediction led to a loss of prophetic authority whereas deceiving to worship idols even when a prophecy was fulfilled, was punishable by death. 

This is the main reason why from the year 2015 onwards I have consistently said that the prophecies declaring Trump’s victory are false prophecies, even when some of them seem to have been fulfilled in 2016. The reason is simple: from the beginning, the Trump prophecies have encouraged idolatry.  

It doesn’t matter if someone gets their prediction right if the prediction encourages idolatry, “for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.”  

Some seek to reduce the New Testament standards for prophetic accuracy, basing it on 1 Corinthians 13:9, which says that we prophesy in part. But partial does not mean imprecise, only that we rarely receive all parts of the prophetic jigsaw puzzle in one go. But a part will still be precise. 

How can we lose prophetic authority? 

As Deuteronomy implies, there are main two sources for false prophecy: demonic and our imagination. We must defend ourselves against demonic influences through developing the gift of discerning spirits. I have taught about that a lot elsewhere. But it has struck me recently that I have taught very little about presumption.   

Jeremiah 23:16-18 says,  

Thus says the Lord of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you; they are deluding you. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise the word of the Lord, “It shall be well with you”; and to all who stubbornly follow their own stubborn hearts, they say, “No calamity shall come upon you.” For who has stood in the council of the Lord so as to see and to hear his word? Who has given heed to his word so as to proclaim it? 

At the heart of presumption is a misunderstanding about the essence of prophecy. Often, this misunderstanding is born through observing charismatic culture. The misunderstanding is to perceive prophecy primarily as the art of proclaiming rather than the art of abiding in the presence of God.  

Often, people ask me for a prophecy on the spot. Their expectation is that because I have the prophetic gift, I should be able to use that gift to proclaim a prophecy spontaneously at any given moment. But in fact, I might have not had the time to use the prophetic gift of abiding in the presence of God at all.  

Sometimes, we must abide in the presence of the Lord for someone before we can give them a prophecy.  

1 Samuel 9-10 accounts how Saul was anointed to be the king. God had already revealed to Samuel how Saul would approach him when looking for lost donkeys, and that Saul would be the first king of Israel. When Saul comes to Samuel, he receives an answer to his question about the lost donkeys even before he has the time to ask it. But Samuel asks Saul to stay overnight, and he anoints Saul to be king only in the morning.  

Why did he ask Saul to wait? I believe that Samuel abided in the presence of God for Saul through the night. He wanted to be dead certain that he would only say the right words.  

Samuel never rushed; he did not speed-prophesy; he did not respond to pressure. Because of that 1 Samuel 3:19 says that God never let any of Samuel’s words fail.  

In today’s church the prophetic people are often pressurised to hand out words on the spot, but unless we have abided in the presence of God, the correct application of the prophetic gift might be to remain silent. 

I have reflected on this issue of presumptive utterances for a while, and I believe that there are at least twelve factors that can make us vulnerable for speaking presumptuously.  

1. Fear 

No one is immune to fear. In Galatians 2:11-13 the apostle Paul confronts his friend Barnabas and the apostle Peter, because they have stopped eating with the Gentile Christians. Why? Because they feared the friends of James who had come from Jerusalem. 

The charismatic world is full of strong leaders who don’t always take kindly to disagreement. It is easy to be economical with your words when dealing with them. There is always a temptation to agree with them. Unfortunately, even silence can be perceived as agreement.  

2. Politeness to host ministry 

It is good to be polite with your host ministry. But prophetically gifted are read differently, and even general politeness can be perceived as prophecy. And any greetings by prophetically gifted are often repurposed to function as endorsements by a hosting ministry. Some of this might be unavoidable, but we must be careful not to let us be exploited by this dynamic. And more importantly, we should not seek to exploit it ourselves. 

Unfortunately, even a hello by prophetically gifted can be interpreted as prophetic.   

3. Greed 

Greed and the fear for a loss of income can cause prophetic people to lose their prophetic authority. Leaders control access to platforms, and platforms have the potential to generate income.  

It is easier to forget any uncomfortable words that God might have given to us and instead proclaim blessings and prosperity wherever we go. Many justify this tactic by referring to 1 Corinthians 14:3 which says that we prophesy for “upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.” According to these teachers, we should never proclaim anything negative or directional. But that is building a theory based on one verse and ignoring the vast biblical evidence about prophecy being often very confrontational. 

4. Not wanting to sound defeatist 

Imagine being invited to the opening of a new church building where you are expected to bless it, and just before you get on the platform, the Lord will tell you that the building will soon be destroyed in a fire and that no prayer could stop it. Would you declare that? Or would you instead prayer a prayer of prosperity and protection regardless? 

I was once asked to give a prophetic endorsement to a church programme publicly in a meeting. I could not say anything because I had no inner witness for it. That made me sound a defeatist, which led to immediate loss of popularity.  

It can be embarrassing to be the one in the room who is the least excited about a new venture. But just because we are Christians, it doesn’t automatically mean that everything we do will prosper.  

The Bible says that David and Joseph prospered in everything they did – but Joseph was in slavery and in prison, and David’s success led to persecution by King Saul and exile.  

5. Dominating mental framework  

A dominating mental framework, such as a strong church vision, can make us perceive every prophecy through that framework. For example, if you give a prophecy to someone about leadership, there would be a tendency to automatically apply it in the context of that church vision. 

But often, when I give a prophecy about leadership, it will trigger the recipient to go serve somewhere else.  

We should not automatically assume that a prophecy will be fulfilled within our current mental framework. This is an area where the evangelical church has failed massively in recent years, as many prophetically gifted have automatically applied a politically conservative mental framework. But God is above our party politics. 

6. Relying on other people’s anointing 

1 Chronicles 17:1-4 says, 

Now when David settled in his house, David said to the prophet Nathan, “I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.” Nathan said to David, “Do all that you have in mind, for God is with you.” But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: You shall not build me a house to live in. 

In the first instance, Nathan relied on the anointing that David had over his life and assumed that David had consulted the Lord before saying that he wanted to build the temple for the Lord. 

Scenarios like these are very common in the charismatic movement not least because we have the cults of success and charismatic leadership. We tend to believe that God will automatically prosper everything that His servants want to do.  

But a prophetically gifted can’t automatically embrace other people’s visions or prophecies. Every prophetic word and vision must be inspected before we accept it. 

7. Not valuing words and the Word 

We tend to think that we are Bible-believing Christians, but our actions can reveal that we put very little weight on the Word.   

The evangelical church’s relationship with Trump reveals that we have become a post-truth Church where the Word and the words don’t matter. The nonchalant attitude to clearly false prophecies reveals that we don’t really put much weight on prophecy either.  

We live as if Jesus’s word in Matthew 12:36-37 didn’t really matter: “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” 

But a prophetic movement not anchored in the Word will always go astray.  

8. Neglecting personal Bible study and devotional life 

We need to let the Word confront ourselves before we minister it to others. We need to seek the Lord and His presence for ourselves before we begin to minister to others. It is easy to forget this in a culture that worships stage performance.  

9. Shifting from anointing to positional authority 

When you are a newcomer to ministry, it might seem that every invitation to minister will come only through prayer and fasting! But at some point your call will begin to bear fruit, and people might begin to respect you as a leader. 

When people respect you, they will begin to respond to your position. But the great temptation is to begin to confuse spiritual authority with positional authority. If you are a leader, people will serve you, and the effects of your words can sometimes seem like a fulfilment of prophecy. 

In 2 Samuel 23:15 David longs for the water from Bethlehem, but the town is occupied by the Philistines. His men get the water for him by putting themselves at great personal danger. 

At this point, David understands that he has misused his authority and pours the water on the ground without drinking it. He realises that in the cup is the blood of his own men. 

Many churches in the West have been built by projecting a vision from stage, but the cost of the fulfilled vision has been the lives and the families of church members. But it all seems to work, as long as the church members are responding to your positional authority because they perceive it as anointed. 

10. Confusing speech acts with reality  

In Finnish language there is a word “taivaanrannanmaalari” which is often translated as a daydreamer, but the literary translation would be “someone who paints the horizon”. A horizon painter can paint a mighty vision with his words on stage and can even confuse his own speech act with the actual work.  Many a mission has already been accomplished on stage with words when nothing has been done yet.  

A taivaanrannanmaalari is well able to suffer martyrdom with their words and to bind every invisible principality on stage. Confusing speech acts with reality is endemic in the Church. But each prophetic word has a cost of fulfilment which is often paid with a lifetime of toiling and labour.  

11. Confusing imagination with prophecy and visions 

The prophetic process itself begins to transform how we perceive and process sounds and images. Whereas an untrained brain often discounts inner voices and mental images as irrational, the prophetically trained person begins to focus on the inner voices and images. This leads to a partial rewiring of our mental processes. 

This is not dissimilar to people who have taken a lot of mind-altering drugs or have experienced altered mental states in other religions or via the occult. Their neural wiring has often been permanently altered, and many who have come to faith from the drug culture continue to see images and hear voices, often confusing that with the prophetic. 

What happens if this rewired brain becomes disconnected from the work of the Holy Spirit? The tendency to look for images and hear voices remains.   

I have seen a handful of significant dreams which have directed my life over decades. Because of that I tend to reflect on every dream that I can remember when I wake up. But I don’t accept any dream automatically as a dream from God. I am open to that possibility. But the truth is that if I didn’t believe in prophetic dreams, I would not even try to remember most of my dreams.  

Most people discount many mental images that they see when they are awake. But prophetically attuned people begin to pay attention to them after they have seen one prophetic vision. But what happens if you have a vivid imagination?  

The same applies to hearing any inner voices. Listening prophetically to the Holy Spirit will also make our own inner voice sound louder.  

We can see how important it is to bring this our imagination back under the authority of the Word of God and its products to be processed in the presence of God. 

If we train and attune our inner faculties, they will also begin to map our own mental processes or even worse, begin to receive messages from demonic sources. There are many ministers today that are confusing their own inner voice with the voice of God.  

12. Living in rebellion  

Pastors and ministers are well able to live in rebellion against God whilst preaching Christian principles from the pulpit. Our words might be in agreement with the Word of God whilst our lives are in rebellion against it. 

I have seen leaders who live in wilful disobedience lose their discernment and begin to perceive their own inner being as the source of divine inspiration.  

The streams of the living water – the Holy Spirit – flow from our inner being. When we learn that we begin to be attentive to our inner being. But what happens when the flow of the Holy Spirit is obstructed, but we continue to be attentive to our inner being? 

Can we recover from the loss of prophetic authority?  

Most Christians know King Ahab as the evil husband of Queen Jezebel who was the prophet Elijah’s archenemy.  

But 1 Kings 21:25-29 says,  

(Indeed, there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel. He acted most abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord drove out before the Israelites.) When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth over his bare flesh; he fasted, lay in the sackcloth, and went about dejectedly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster on his house.” 

King Ahab repented. But he was still mortally wounded in a battle according to a prophecy by Elijah. Spiritual restoration is possible, but we will often still suffer some of the consequences of our actions. 

If you have lost your prophetic authority, regaining it will take time, but it might be possible through the process of repentance. 

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at or by visiting 


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.
Follow us Google+.




Popular Post


Powered by Blogger.