Prophets or Fortune Tellers? It's About Time We Learn the Difference

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Unsound doctrine and counterfeit prophecy are diluting  the manifestation of God's presence and power and polluting the landscape of Christianity today.
Unsound doctrine and counterfeit prophecy are diluting the manifestation of God's presence and power and polluting the landscape of Christianity today. (Flickr.Creative Commons)

There is a growing false prophetic movement in this country that must be addressed and confronted. Unsound doctrine and counterfeit prophecy are diluting the manifestation of God's presence and power and polluting the landscape of Christianity today.

"Son of man, prophesy against the false prophets of Israel who are inventing their own prophecies. Say to them, 'Listen to the word of the Lord'" (Ezek. 13:2, NLT).

"I have not sent these prophets, yet they run around claiming to speak for me. I have given them no message, yet they go on prophesying. If they had stood before me and listened to me they would have spoken my words, and they would have turned my people from their evil ways and deeds" (Jer. 23:21-22, NLT).

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).

While I do believe in the valid ministry of the prophet and have been a personal beneficiary of such ministry, I have also been increasingly alarmed at what passes for true prophetic ministry today.  

Here is a typical word of what passes for prophecy today.

"I have called you to a high calling, says the Lord, and I will lift you up to a place of great glory, and money will no longer be a problem for you for I will move on people's hearts who will contribute to your own wealth. You will no longer minister in small circles, but soon television will open up new arenas to you, and your ministry will be greatly sought after. In that day you will know the favor of your Daddy God and He will increase you more and more."

Have you heard of a similar word in today's marketplace of Christianity? A word like that is clearly carnal, man-exalting, and flesh pleasing. It feeds pride, covetousness, and the inordinate affection for recognition and influence that are in people's hearts. It is the basest form of idolatry.

Examples of such prophecies are numerous in this day, and sadly, the norm. Usually they will address one of three areas in a person's life: Ministry, money, or marriage. They will speak to a person's discontentment and need for recognition and promotion or their strong desire to be blessed and happy through possessing the riches and comforts of this life.  

Now compare that prophecy to this one.

"I am going to prepare you for the coming days by a hard path that will cause many to cry out continually unto Me. For when the going is easy, men do not seek Me, but rejoice in a temporary blessing. And when that blessing is removed, they so often turn this way and that way but do not come to Me. I am showing you these things in order that you may seek Me continually and with great diligence. As you seek Me, I will open up truths to you that you have not seen before, and these very truths will be such that will enable you to stand in these last days. As you are persecuted, reviled and rejected by your brethren, then you will turn unto Me with all your heart and seek Me for that spiritual life that you need."

This one speaks of the trials that are part of this Christian life and grants hope of the sustaining spiritual life of the Lord as we seek Him.

The former example speaks of ease, comfort, and the presumed blessing of great ministry and financial prosperity. Due to the abundance of counterfeit prophecies in this day, you hardly hear the latter any more.

I wouldn't pay a nickel for that first word. There is nothing in it.

It is not that the Lord is opposed to His people being blessed and happy, but such prophecies are dangerous when they feed impure motives already resident in the heart. The true prophetic should direct people's hearts toward God and not our own selfish and soulish desires.

Do you know how many desperate single women have been prophesied to about a future coming husband who never came? Many of them grew bitter with time and their wounds led them into severe depression. Evil spirits attached to such words of divination hang around them for years.

I know of young men who went into the ministry because of a prophecy and it wasted years of their lives and nearly ruined them. Others abruptly changed the course of their previous plans to pursue a prophetic word that pointed them in a different direction. These types of prophecies are like fortune telling that cause great damage to the body of Christ and pollute the land.

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