The Counterfeit Prophetic Movement

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How does prophets express themselves?

The devil’s strategy has been to cause great confusion and deception through the prophetic office by sowing misunderstandings. He has used the prophetic as a vehicle to spread lies, deceptions, and confusion and he has used the prophetic to misdirect. 

Today, it seems every second person in the Church is in the prophetic office, and it seems everybody now has the prophetic gift. And so we sit with so many so-called prophetic utterances, yet there is still no guidance or true direction in the church. Why? Because so many people who proclaim to be prophets aren’t really prophets (taking also into consideration there are prophets in training), and so many who speak a prophetic word are just speaking out of the imagination, or the flesh, or even worse, by a spirit of divination.

The Church after all is in a state of apostasy because there has been no clear prophetic guidance even though it seems we are overwhelmed with “prophetic” guidance. Yet there is no clarity but greater confusion because the guidance is not really prophetic but driven by emotion, selfish needs, or even worse, a more sinister purpose. People are receiving prophetic words left, right, and center, and everybody is speaking over nations and spiritual leaders. And amid this “noise” of muddled utterances that carry little truth or prophetic weight, the true prophets speak. Yet, because of the lack of discernment, one finds in the church there is little discernment regarding what the true voice of the Lord is compared to those who speak by the flesh, imagination, or even a demonic spirit.

Today the prophets are in high demand in churches, not because they speak the unconditional truth of God, declaring God’s truth, His standard of holiness, correction, or judgment, but because they hold the supposed key to address a crisis in someone’s life, to offer a breakthrough, to bring forth what the person wishes and will. The misguided or even false prophet will often try to profit or make a gain out of such a situation, speaking what people want to hear. 

Because of this distorted view that believers have of the prophetic – reducing it to fortune cookie utterances – so many in the church become prophets. They declare themselves so, because the “prophet” in the eyes of the modern-day apostate church is popular, and people love to be around them. They are popular and hold a great influence because they are seen as the answer to the solution, the breakthrough, and that the prophet can by his utterance meet the need and wants of the person asking for a ‘word”.

This is the muck in which the prophetic finds itself. The prophetic itself has been emerged in apostasy, and so many tag themselves with the prophetic label to be seen, to be heard, and to be famous. Many “prophets” are making huge sums of money, as they milk congregants for the “use” of the “prophetic gift or office”. Money is thrown at them for a word, for a revelation, an utterance, for surely they are hearing from God and surely they are speaking what God is revealing. Sadly, many times this is not the case. They speak not for God. They speak not as He leads. They speak out of the flesh, out of the imaginations of the mind, out of carnality, and even by a different spirit all for the sake of “sounding prophetic”. After all, there is plenty of money in the prophetic, and so many “prophets” become famous, “adorned”, loved, and yes, to the point of being idolized. 

See also
Conditions of Prophetic Words

The reality is, so many of these so-called “prophets” may love the Lord, but they are not called to be in the office, and they are not called in the gift. Yet, they proclaim it so. Again, some may have the calling but are still on the journey to be commissioned. Those who are not at all led to be in the office, yet pretend to do so, will take the next fatal step – fake it. And yes, there are plenty of those who have mastered the art of faking the prophetic, mumbling revelations, or giving a “word” for someone that is murky and lacks any substance at best. Yet, the “prophet” uses many “tricks” to fool and beguile, such as the use of one’s voice, movements of the hands, along with the subtle use of background music, lights, and even smoke. All of this is done to hide the fact that they are not speaking as the Spirit leads, because truly, if they stand not in the office yet pretend to do so, then the Spirit of the Lord will not be present.

These pretenders and so-called prophets get away with all the mumbling, foolish behavior, trickery, and at times occult practices, because of the lack of discernment among believers. They, therefore, thrive, for they have mastered the trick of saying what people want to hear, and so they soar in reputation because of ignorance, and spiritual impoverishment. 

Take a look at what it says in Ezekiel 13: 17 “Now you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who are prophesying out of [the wishful thinking of] their own mind (inspiration). Prophesy against them 18 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe to the women who fasten magic (protective) charms on all wrists and make veils for the heads of those of every stature to capture [human] lives! Will you capture the lives of My people but keep your own? 19 You have profaned Me among My people [in payment] for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, killing people who should not die and giving [a guarantee of] life to those who should not live, because of your lies to My people who pay attention to lies.”’” 20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against your magic bands [and veils] by which you hunt [human] lives as birds and I will tear them from your arms; and I will let the lives you hunt go free, even those lives whom you hunt as birds. 21 I will also tear off your [pagan] veils and rescue My people from your hands, and they will no longer be in your grip to be hunted and trapped. Then you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord. 22 Because you disheartened the righteous with falsehood when I did not cause him grief, but have encouraged the wicked not to turn from his wicked way and preserve his life, 23 therefore, you women will no longer see false visions or practice divinations, and I will rescue My people from your hand. Then you will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord.”

See also
The Spirit of Truth And the Spirit Of Error

Ezekiel 13 speaks of something very true and also frightening. It portrays those who are engaging in the counterfeit prophetic movement as being hunters, thus hunting lives. They hunt lives for personal gain and for self-profit, thus their agenda is not to glorify the Lord but to exalt the Self. This Scripture may apply partly to women, but in our modern context, it applies to all who speak not as the Holy Spirit leads. The Lord speaks in this Scripture of a people who hunts and captures human lives through deception and spiritual manipulation, thus witchcraft, therefore the reference to veils and magic bands (charms). It is also interesting the reference to these false prophets who hunt people as if they are hunting birds, which reminds me of Psalm 91 which speaks of the fowler’s snare. 

It is important to understand Psalm 91 for we read how the Lord shall deliver us NOT from the fowler, but the snare of the fowler. We need to understand that the devil will be with us like a roaring lion, seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8) until God finally seals his fate according to the Book of Revelations. What we, therefore, need to discern and take note of is the “snare” of the fowler, meaning we need to discern the work of the enemy, and how such work operates, functions, and manifest to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). After all, the WAGES (thus the work – thus the snare) of the sin is death (Romans 6:23). Sin, like the fowler, will always be with us, but we need to realize and discern the work of sin, which creates death and separation from God. We cannot eradicate the existence of sin, but we can counter the wages of sin by not stepping into its entrapments.

A fowler would for example use a net or a trap to catch the bird, and will even use other birds to draw the prey to the trap. This is how the enemy operates, and thus the false prophet, for the work of the enemy is sly, devious, and cunning. The devil constantly lures us into traps, snares, and nets, trying to entrap, enslave, and cage us. And this is what false prophets and false prophecies, thus divination, achieve – it creates a snare to capture and enslave. We are therefore reminded that while the fowler remains the enemy, our concern should be the “work” of the fowler, thus the snare and how he tries to entrap us. We need to identify it, discern it, and then by the leading of the Holy Spirit address it and overcome it. Therefore, we need to not only be aware of the false prophet but be equally discerning regarding the work of false prophecies which is nothing more than divination.

See also
Do Not Despise Prophecies

Isaiah 61 speaks of the ministry of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives and freedom to prisoners. Indeed, still, it remains the work of the Holy Spirit to lead us in all Truth, for such Truth destroys the work of the false prophecies and exposes the agenda of the false prophets. Only the Truth of God sets the captive free, and there are many captives in the church today who have been ensnared by false prophecies, thus words of divination. And where divinization is spoken, you will find the enemy is at work, and where the enemy is present, you will find the word is designed to destroy, to kill, and to steal.

Deuteronomy 30 admonishes us to choose life or death, yet we choose death when we choose false words that enslave. We choose the path of death when we fall prey to the hunter, who seeks to capture human lives. God’s intention is for us to be delivered from the work of the false prophets and their devious words, yet if we fail to discern through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we fall victim to such devious allure and spiritual darkness. There are many false prophets in the world today, and many of them are in the churches, some deceived themselves. There are those who have been called to the office of the calling of the prophet but are grounded not in the Word and so still speak more out of the flesh than the Holy Spirit. Either way, if they are intentionally or unintentionally deceiving, their words remain dangerous for they will ensnare and captivate. 

Primarily, such a word captivates our mind, thus polluting our soul which negatively impacts our spiritual life. The enemy wants us to walk in a state of double-mindedness, being confused regarding God’s Truth, and so we are led astray to walk a different path than the path intended by God. False words and prophecies can cause lethal and devastating changes in behavior, mindsets, beliefs, convictions, and one’s spiritual fortitude.

It is written in “Proverbs 6:5 Tear yourself away like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.” This should also be our attitude. We must remain in the Lord, and walk by the Spirit so that we can walk in discernment and truth. Thus we shall be delivered from the hands of the hunter and from the entrapment of the fowler. Yet sadly, in churches, many remain deceived and fall prey, thus being hunted and entrapped. Paul writes in “2 Timothy 3 verse 13: But evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived”. Indeed, such as the state of the false prophets, not just in the world but in the church, for they are going from bad to worse, constantly deceiving and being deceived.

See also
The Prophetic Declaration of Woe

Thus Ezekiel 13 should be a wake-up call. Still, the false prophets with their pagan branded message dishearten the righteous, and lead so many astray and into captivity. Take note, magic bands are also translated as charms. A charm can be seen as a small ornament worn on a necklace or bracelet, designed to achieve a purpose through magic. Now, we also get the word charming, as in someone who is charming, which is the power or quality of delighting, attracting, or fascinating others. This is after all the design and purpose of charms in the context of magic – to achieve a devious purpose through attraction and fascination. We speak of someone being charming by the quality they attract and they fascinate. And this is the quality also of many false prophets – they are charming. The words they speak are charming. They speak words that delight, and fascinate, and this attracts a person to the word and to the speaker of the word. Yet the purpose remains clear – a false prophet appears charming because they ultimately cast a spell through deception, falseness, and yes at times demonically inspired messages. 

Ezekiel 13 also speaks of “tearing off the veil” of such false prophets. It is time that God exposes the so-called prophets who appear so holy, so true and so sincere by removing the veil of hypocrisy and deception. The Amplified Bible speaks of the veil as being pagan in nature, for this is the reality of how false prophets operate. Remember, any message that comes not from God is opposed to the eternal Kingdom, and is thus pagan. Also take note that by design a false word and prophecy blind spiritually, for it causes confusion and deception. And to blind speaks of putting a veil over someone’s eyes. A key characteristic of the prophetic is thus to cause spiritual blindness, through the process of subtle manipulation that appears so charming. 

There is thus a clear counterfeit movement happening in the churches when it comes to the prophetic. One of the characteristics of such a movement is that prophecy is used for self-promotion, instead of always glorifying Jesus and being Jesus-centered. Satan plays on the human ego and pride. God calls us to humble ourselves before Him and promises that He will then raise us. Demons, on the other hand, tell us how great, wonderful, and significant we are in ourselves. The ultimate goal of prophecy is to point people to Jesus. This was confirmed by the heavenly being who was at John’s side as they observed the vast heavenly host worshipping and praising God. Overwhelmed at the sight, John fell at the feet of his heavenly escort to worship him, who stopped him and said, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelations 19:10).

See also
A Prophetic Word For the Prophets

John 16:14 said of the Holy Spirit that He will glorify only Jesus and the Spirit will take from Jesus and declare it to the disciples. Therefore the Holy Spirit is certainly not going to promote a prophet, teacher, angel, or any other creature. Jesus is the only Saviour, Healer, and Lord, and the Holy Spirit is here to point people to Him. When people use prophecy to put themselves and their own movement in the limelight, it is a warning sign they have strayed from the biblical pattern.

The counterfeit movement also speaks about foolishness. We read in Hosea 

chapter 9: The days of punishment have come; The days of recompense have come. Israel knows! The prophet is a fool, The spiritual man is insane, Because of the greatness of your iniquity and great enmity. 8 The watchman of Ephraim is with my God; But the prophet is a fowler’s snare in all his ways— Enmity in the house of his God. 

The chapter in Hosea according to the Amplified is translated as follows: The prophet is [considered] a fool; The man [of God] who is inspired is [treated as if] demented, Because of the abundance of your wickedness and guilt, And because your deep antagonism [toward God and the prophets] is so great.

Hosea (active 750-722 BC) was a prophet of the kingdom of Israel. He called on Israel to repent its sins of apostasy and warned of the judgment to come from God. Of course, as with so many other prophets, the people did not listen. It is shocking how the Lord says that the prophet in the days of Hosea was foolish and even worse, the spiritual man insane. Such foolishness of the prophets was echoed by Ezekiel in chapter 13:3 Thus says the Lord God: “Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!

It says in Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Thus, the so-called prophets in the days of Hosea ultimately despised the wisdom and instruction of the Lord. This is how foolishness sets in. Jesus said in Matthew 7:26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand” … It is foolishness when we heed not God, or follow His ways or His Truth. 

This was the path followed by the prophets in the days of Hosea, and this is sadly the path that still many follow today in the churches. After all, it says in Job 28: 28 Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. So the counterfeit is marked by foolishness, thus a lack of wisdom, which comes from not spending time in the presence of God.

Apostasy is upon us, because there is little understanding, and we have departed from the truth of God. It says in Hosea 4:6: My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. The prophet deals only with the truth of God, and thus if the prophet departs from such truth, he walks in deception, and therefore in the counterfeit. A prophet is supposed to walk in wisdom, and to hear the Lord, and to counter foolishness, not advocate or walk in such foolishness.

See also
Accountability and Testing of Prophetic Words?

Another sign of the counterfeit prophetic movement is when prophecy becomes the primary means for determining the will of God. We need to understand that a prophetic word must confirm. The “direction” part comes as we are led by the Spirit of the Lord (Romans 8:14). Some will say that the prophetic word they receive is something new, but in fact, it will still only be a confirmation. The problem is we are not always listening to the Lord, thus the Lord gives us a word to confirm what is already in our hearts, even though we may not even know it!

In Acts 21:4 certain disciples, by the Spirit, told Paul, who was on his way to Jerusalem, not to go up to Jerusalem. What did Paul do? He ignored what they said and continued on to Jerusalem. Prophecy must confirm what we already know in our heart, and Paul had already purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem (see Acts 19:21). When prophecy is sought as the primary means for determining the will of God, those involved have departed from the biblical pattern and fallen into cultic divining and even witchcraft.

As mentioned already, no prophecy will ever replace the Scriptures but must uphold and be tested by the Scriptures. In Psalm 119:105 David said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness to doubt His identity, He responded to each temptation with, “It is written,” and then quoted the appropriate passage of Scripture. John Wesley, who saw many unusual spiritual manifestations as the leader of the 18th-century Methodist revival, said, “Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it.” When Scripture and common sense are neglected solely for dreams, visions, and personal prophecies, then something is amiss.

The danger is that so many of these “prophets” will move beyond the fakeness and into the realm of trying to actually find some kind of real revelation. If they are not in the office or move by the gift, then the Spirit of the Lord is absent. So what is the next step? Yes, they connect with a “different spirit”, and so they begin to speak divination, for they move into the realm of witchcraft. Especially in Africa you find will many of these false “prophets” declare and decree things by channeling a different spirit. And so they merge Christianity with the occult because they wish to sound clever or prophetic. Yet, they are not just uttering total nonsense, but the danger comes in what they are actually speaking as a spirit leads, yet it is demonic. Thus, the words uttered act as a curse, and as they lay hands on a person, it becomes demonic impartation. These “prophets” who deal intentionally to deceive and to mislead, indeed hold great danger to seduce.

See also
The Spirit of Prophecy

We read of the following account in Acts 13: 6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”

The setting of the story of Bar-Jesus is Paul’s first missionary journey. Through prayer, fasting, and the Holy Spirit’s leading, the church in Antioch had selected Barnabas and Saul, who was also called Paul, to be sent out as missionaries. With them also was John Mark. On their journey, they traveled to Cyprus, Barnabas’s home island. When they arrived in Paphos, the western port and capital of the island, they were invited to meet with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, who was the Roman governor of the region. The Bible tells us that Sergius Paulus was an intelligent man who wanted to hear the Word of God. Among the governor’s attendants was Bar-Jesus, a man who made his living practicing magic. He also claimed to be a prophet of God.

In this story, we find the nature of the false prophet, thus the counterfeit prophetic movement, on display. In this case, Bar-Jesus sought to undermine the work of the Lord, withstanding Barnabas and Saul and trying to lead the proconsul away from the truth. This is the very nature of the counterfeit prophetic movement – it withstands the work of God, and it opposes Truth. It is the work of apostasy, just as the religious leaders withstood the work of Jesus. Yet the Lord rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees, thus the religious spirit operating in them, just as the servants of God ultimately addressed the unclean spirit(s) operating in Bar Jesus. In Acts 13 the false prophet is also labeled as a sorcerer because there are indeed false prophets today who are not misguided but they intentionally deceive and lead astray. They are therefore led by a different spirit, and if one operates by any other spirit except the Holy Spirit they are moving in witchcraft. 

The name Bar-Jesus means “son of Joshua” or “son of the Saviour.” In Acts 13:8, the magician is called Elymas, which, according to Luke, means “magician” or “sorcerer.” It was not uncommon for Jews to have more than one name, and Luke thought it was important to include both in the account. So not only do we find a false prophet withstanding the work of God, we find a person who even carries the name Jesus, and once again this points to how the devil will continually set up a false system of religion, false gods, and a perverted way to the truth. After all, Jesus warned that false Christs and false prophets will appear (Matthew 24:24). Such is the manner of the counterfeit movement – establishing an alternative to the truth of the Kingdom, opposing the divinity of God, and offering a different way to salvation. This is even the crux of the New Age movement. 

See also
The Prophetic Spark

This false prophet was even labeled as deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness”. Yes, the man’s name might have meant ‘son of the Saviour’ but Paul called him “child of the devil.” Indeed, the counterfeit prophetic movement seeks to pervert the straight ways of the Lord. Of John the Baptist it is written in Matthew 3:3: For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” The work of John the Baptist who was also a prophet, declaring the will of the Lord, was to make straight the path of the Lord, thus meaning he was preparing the way so that the people may receive the Truth as taught by Jesus. Yet of the false prophet, we read he seeks to pervert such ways, meaning he comes to lead people astray and away from Jesus who is the Way. 

We also find that as the counterfeit met the true prophetic that the counterfeit’s lack of authority was exposed. After all, the counterfeit is driven by the devil, and the devil is a mere fallen angel. The true prophetic is upheld by the Lord of all, and so the false prophet was struck blind for a while. Saul on the road to Damascus was also stuck blind because he like Bar Jesus was blind to the truth of the Lord. Those who oppose the Lord will always be blind to the truth of the Lord, to His Ways and His Power. They are blind to His Kingdom, His Life, and Glory. Such is the manner of the counterfeit prophetic movement – spiritually blind, wicked, and perverting the ways of God. 

The reality is that sometimes when the Gospel is preached, Satan will plant stumbling blocks and detractors like Bar-Jesus in the path of those who are seeking to understand the truth (see Matthew 13:4,19). This is the manner and nature of the counterfeit movement. Sadly, Bar-Jesus showed no sign of repentance, but his blindness became a beacon of light for Sergius Paulus. When the governor saw what had happened to the sorcerer, he was astonished by the teaching he had just received from Barnabas and Paul, and he became a believer (Acts 13:12). Light will always triumph over darkness, and God’s true power will always triumph over the counterfeit. The story reminds us how we must continually seek the Lord, seek His Truth, proclaim the Truth, and proclaim His Gospel, for there is power in the Blood – the power to heal, restore, deliver, and save.

See also
Life of the Prophet

The true prophetic movement does not have to fear or back down but must persist, persevere and endure by speaking the will of God in humility and love. It will always be countered by the counterfeit in the form of a Bar Jesus, or whatever other false prophet or sorcerer, but God is all-powerful, and those who abide in Him shall overcome. 

When it comes to those who prophesy not as the Lord leads, whatever the motivation or intent, it reminds me of Ichabod in 1 Samuel 4:19-21. 19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child, due to be delivered; and when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and gave birth, for her labor pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “Do not fear, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer, nor did she regard it. 21 Then she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband.

The translation of Ichabod is somewhat debated but it suggests the glory is nowhere to be found. There is definitively a rise of such ‘prophets’ in the house of God, where the glory of God is not with them, or present. For such prophets do not stand in the Lord’s counsel. It says in Jeremiah 23: But if they had stood in My counsel, And had caused My people to hear My words, Then they would have turned them from their evil way And from the evil of their doings. Indeed, if we abide in the Lord and His counsel, we shall be convicted of our deceptions, of leading people astray, of speaking lies, and of confusing.

Even worse, such prophets, because they do not hear the Lord, will then steal prophetic words from other people! Jeremiah 23: 30 “Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who steal My words every one from his neighbor. This is happening often, especially in the time and age of mass communication. Those who fake it and pretend to be prophetic can easily consume all the words posted and floating around in cyberspace and claim it as their own. But again, such “word” will not carry any authority or truth, but would rather carry the danger of spiritual deception and corruption.

Let us be reminded of Jeremiah 23: 32 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. Yes, those who operate not in the presence of the Lord are actually in danger of stealing God’s glory. They after all seek not to glorify God, but to exalt themselves. Jeremiah 23: 35 Thus every one of you shall say to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ and, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 And the oracle of the Lord you shall mention no more. For every man’s word will be his oracle, for you have perverted the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God.’

See also
Beguiling Nature of Prophecy of Divination

Thus, for such ‘prophets’ of an Ichabod nature the deception begins in their own minds and hearts. Jeremiah 14: 14 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. Indeed, it is a word of the flesh, and not of Godly wisdom. And so the warning of Jeremiah 5 applies to our age as well: “An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: 31 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? They also prophesy without unction. Jeremiah 23:21 says, “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.” If God is not speaking, prophets should not be talking in His name. 

Such fake it and pretend prophets do not carry a strong revelation of the Father’s heart. They are missing a deep revelation of the glory of God so they prophesy harsh words, and judgments with no room for repentance, curses on people and nations, and celebrate when their witchcraft comes to pass. They may even trumpet an intimacy message, but bitterness supersedes a glory revelation. And many times, they prophesy what the party line wants to hear. Their intent and motivation are many times to gain popularity. Jeremiah 6:13-14: “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.

Just as terrible is that these false prophets, be it misguided or intentional deception, will resist the true prophetic. In Luke 13:34 we read: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her!” The prophets were often killed because they spoke the Truth of God, and many times that truth offended. After all, a true prophet will reveal the true nature of things, and for this reason, they who move in the counterfeit will oppose the true prophet. It also says in Acts 7:52: “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;

See also
The Prophetic Spark

Regarding cults, it should be noted as a point of interest how many of these cult/sect/esoteric movement leaders often see themselves as prophets, thus special messengers. The devil has done this on purpose to discredit the true prophetic, and the devil knows that people are intrigued and fascinated by the prophetic. As soon as some or other so-called spiritual guru claims himself to be a prophet, then immediately there is some or other kind of allure, and so man is tricked and deceived by the devil. The devil uses the prophetic title for a specific purpose, because of the allure and fascination it holds. Many will stream towards such “prophets”, who claim to be special messengers or have extra knowledge of the spiritual or the divine. It is not by coincidence that many of the cults or esoteric movements are led by prophets just as many churches are led by similarly disillusioned prophets, who ultimately lead people away from the Truth of God. After all, there are plenty of churches that run like a cult, where the pastor/prophet holds the ultimate power over the people, constantly brainwashing, manipulating, and deceiving.

Therefore, it is not surprising that most of the time cults and sects would be led by “prophets”, just as many churches are led by similar “prophets”, because of the power of influence that the office holds. And these prophets of the cult or of the church that resembles a cult will continue to beguile, mislead and draw people away from God because of ignorance, and spiritual deception. Granted, some of them may indeed be deceived themselves, but others are intentionally misleading for their own gain or profit. How else to explain this when a so-called prophet tells his congregation to eat grass or drink poison? Such spiritual leaders will only lead one down a path of self-destruction. 

There is plenty of evidence of how these false/misguided “prophets” hold great sway over the congregation. It is allowed to happen because so many in the church do not really know the Lord or His Word or the Spirit. Footage has emerged where congregants physically walk after the prophet (pastor) on all four like sheep, while others will gladly eat grass to be healed, or drink poison to test God, or embrace a snake. This is not the way of the Kingdom. This is the way of darkness. 

One should take note of how many of these misguided and false prophets indeed at the end of the day begin to move in the occult by what they say and do. This is only natural because if you do not move in the Spirit of God, you are an open channel for a demonic attachment. And the more you mock the Lord and rebel against His Kingdom, the greater the legal entry for such demonic entities. And so many times the manifestations within the church where this pastor/prophet operates are certainly not godly, but definitely demonic. And these prophets, like cult leaders, demand perfect loyalty from followers, for they overvalue themselves and devalued those around them. They will be intolerant of criticism (today a lot of spiritual leaders refuse true prophetic correction), and above all, they do not like being questioned or challenged. And yet, despite these less-than-charming traits, they had no trouble attracting those who were willing to overlook these features.

See also
The Spirit of Prophecy

Today, even in churches, you also find the reality of the messiah complex (also known as the Christ complex or savior complex), which is a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief that they are, or are destined to become, a savior. This complex will especially be prevalent among the false prophets, who act like a false christ. No spiritual leader is ever the savior of the people – only God. We are only called to lead others to the Lord, who is our and the only true Saviour of the world. 

False messiahs are one of the signs Jesus warned about:

•”And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray” (Matthew 24:11); 

•”For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:14);

•”For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:5) 

Take note of Deuteronomy 13 (NKJV): Punishment of Apostates: 13 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk[a] after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.

It is therefore clear in this case that if any prophet leads someone away from God, or the Truth of God, or the Kingdom of God, in any way, shape, or form, then they are false and branded dangerous. Peter warns in 2 Peter 2: But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you … Indeed, many deceptive, dangerous, and demonic movements within the church are certainly not led by the prophet of God, for they proclaim, declare and teach knowledge that is contrary to who God is, His Word and His Kingdom. Yet, because of their charismatic nature, they will lead so many people astray and cause them to stumble in their ways.

Years ago the Lord showed unto me a man carrying a satchel, and in the satchel was plenty of these ancient-looking scrolls (they were overflowing in number). The Lord said the scrolls represented all the word (Rhema) the man has received on his spiritual journey. Yet, because of the lack of discernment and knowing what is right from wrong, the man never let go of the false word (scrolls) but kept adding them to the others in the satchel. Among the scrolls were plenty of prophetic words for his life, and his calling. In the end, this man went through life embracing all the words (scrolls), never realizing most of the words he has received were false and were designed to mislead. Because of the lack of discernment between what is real and fake, the man was in a state of confusion. The only way therefore to truly counter the fake and counterfeit prophetic move in the church is to know God, to be led by His Spirit, and to know the Word. For the Truth shall set us free from all of the deceptions, trickery, and lies. 

See also
Do Not Despise Prophecies

Consider what the prophet Hosea said in chapter 9: The days of punishment have come; The days of recompense have come. Israel knows! The prophet is a fool, The spiritual man is insane, Because of the greatness of your iniquity and great enmity. 8 The watchman of Ephraim is with my God; But the prophet is a fowler’s snare in all his ways— Enmity in the house of his God. 9 They are deeply corrupted, As in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity; He will punish their sins.

Hosea (active 750-722 BC) was a prophet of the kingdom of Israel. He called on Israel to repent its sins of apostasy and warned of the judgment to come from God. Of course, as with so many other prophets, the people did not listen. It is shocking how the Lord says that the prophet in the days of Hosea was merely foolish and even worse, the spiritual man insane. Such foolishness of the prophets was echoed by Ezekiel in chapter 13:3 Thus says the Lord God: “Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!

It says in Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. Thus, the so-called prophets in the days of Hosea ultimately despised the wisdom and instruction of the Lord. This is how foolishness sets in. Jesus said in Matthew 7:26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand … Indeed, it is foolishness when we heed not God or follow His ways or His Truth. This was the path followed by the prophets in the days of Hosea, and this is sadly the path that still many follow today in the churches. 

The chapter in Hosea according to the Amplified is translated as follows: The prophet is [considered] a fool; The man [of God] who is inspired is [treated as if] demented, Because of the abundance of your wickedness and guilt, And because your deep antagonism [toward God and the prophets] is so great.

The church is truly in a state of apostasy because of foolishness, because our antagonism [toward God and the true prophets] is so great, and because so many in churches still love the world and its wickedness. This is by foolish behavior. Of foolish behavior we read in Psalm 53:1 [folly of the godless]: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good.

See also
Life of the Prophet

Let us also take note of Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. This of course reminds me of Psalm 1: Blessed [fortunate, prosperous, and favored by God] is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example], Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit [down to rest] in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). 

Apostasy is upon us because believers are in danger of often walking in the counsel of the wicked, or standing in the path of sinners. More than ever we need to walk in wisdom, and we need to trust God to lead us in such wisdom so that we are not foolish. We need to be led by the true prophetic voice, and not by foolishness and ignorance. At the end of the day, foolishness, arrogance, pride, and ignorance breed not a sound mind, thus the reference to insanity as mentioned by Hosea. 

We can only cultivate a sound mind as we are led by the Spirit of the Lord (1 Timothy 4:7), thus walk in the ways and the counsel of God, otherwise we shall fall in the trap of Romans 1 which says the following: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient …

See also
The Spirit of Truth And the Spirit Of Error

God’s wrath against rebellion is clearly spelled out in Romans 1. And this is because they were vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Thus, they were foolish, and they fell prey to a reprobate mind. The word ‘reprobate’ is the Greek word adokimos, which signifies “not standing the test, rejected”. It speaks of a mind of which God cannot approve, and which must be rejected or cast away by Him, the effect of refusing “to have God in their knowledge. It, therefore, refers to something depraved, unprincipled, or wicked, even worse, thus a person rejected by God and beyond hope of salvation. It, therefore, speaks of a people who had become darkened in their knowledge of God, thus walking in foolishness. Such behavior was evident in the days of Noah, of which we read in Genesis 6: 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Prophets who truly do not yield to God and who do not submit, also show signs of such a mind. It is a mind that God cannot approve, for it is a mind that is opposed to the ways of God. And such a mind will only breed apostasy, madness, and rebellion.

Right throughout history, up to now, mankind has constantly struggled with rebellion against God. Such rebellion infiltrated the minds of the Israelites, even the prophets and leaders. Thus they were foolish. And today still, there is great foolishness in churches, for many so-called prophets are mere fools and many spiritual leaders are acting like mad men as in the days of Hosea. 

Mad implies the false theology that is being preached, the absurd behavior advocating the twisting of the truth, the distortion of God’s ways, and the continuous self-glorification and self-exaltation. 

Mad implying self-glorying prophetic actions and words, void of the Spirit. Indeed, these are days of madness, or insanity, for how else to explain a people of God who resist His Truth, His Ways, and His Kingdom for self-gain and profit, as in the days of Hosea and so many other prophets? No wonder there is so much apostasy in the church.

It is because there is so much foolishness, thus a lack of true counsel, which breeds insanity, which sets up an environment for spiritual abuse, confusion, and deception.

Riaan Engelbrecht

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