Identifying False Prophets

I just finished one of the Christian Certification classes by Global Awakening. The Christian Prophetic Certification Program is a very solid program for the ministry of prophecy. In my class I really learned about the way the prophetic move of God happens in our days and how to align with heaven. But today I want to write about what is not the prophecy of God and specially the false prophets. Honestly I always thought the false prophets were outside the church, but in recent years I have seen how many of them are in our midst and I was introduced to the understanding of false prophets in my class.

In 1988 God spoke to Steve Thompson about three character flaws that will lead someone to become a false prophet. Thompson highlights how he is not talking about false prophets outside the church but he says, “false prophets in the church are those who are destructive, ministering with a true prophetic gift, but without prophetic character. The fruit of false prophets is division, strife, and discord in the congregations they touch.” So the true prophetic character lies in the representation of Jesus character as one ministers. “The Spirit of Prophecy is the testimony of Jesus” Revelation 3:14. That is clearly demonstrated in Thompson’s line of explanation “the Word become flesh” in Jesus and that is the key for us, the Word becoming flesh in us, beyond our words but a living experience of His Word.

The three character flaws that will lead prophets to become false prophets, according to the revelation Thompson had, is based in the letter of Jude. These characters cannot be confused with immaturity, because the first stages of young prophets are a part of the maturing in the gift. “Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah” Jude 11 KJV. Cain, Balaam, and Korah each represent a different character flaw that will pervert our ministries if we do not recognize them at work in us and then quickly repent. They not only represent a different flaw, but also a progression of selfishness that will cause us to become false in our ministry.

The first one is Cain, his name means “maker” or “fabricator” or “one who makes his own way” that is, instead of God’s way, instead of the ones God has given us as authorities. In Cain we learn that his self-will resulted in anger and depression, even though he was confronted to change, he didn’t submit himself to correction and received a spirit of murderer. This is the danger of prophetic people who will not submit to correction and become destructive to everyone in the church and around him. Thompson warns us, “If we launch prematurely into prophetic ministry through our self-will and are not accepted in that ministry, we will become depressed and angry, eventually spiritually and emotionally destroying those around us.” If we don’t seek wisdom and convert from self-will and self-pity we will progress to the second character flaw towards becoming a false prophet.

The second one is Balaam, his name means “devourer of the people” or “conqueror of the people.” Balaam was once a prophet of God as we read in the bible but one day he gave in to use his prophetic gift for his own benefit and gain, for riches and his own glory. He represent the ones who use people to obtain their own way, the one who devours the sheep. The promotion given to those possessing prophetic gifts will place them into a decision between serving people or themselves. This pitfall is tragic and operates in three realms, financial or political, emotional and sexual. “Balaam, a prophet to whom the Lord Himself once came, died as a soothsayer (see Joshua 13:22). If we are not willing to wait for our rewards in heaven, we also can digress from prophets to diviners whose end is not blessed” says Thompson.

The third character flaw found in Jude 11 is Korah, Korah means “bald” and “uncovered”. He represent rebellion present in the lives and ministries of so many false prophets. Thompson explains, “Korah and other men of renown in Israel rose up against Moses and Aaron with the accusation that they had taken too much authority upon themselves, since all of Israel was holy in God’s eyes. This seemingly democratic move was actually inspired by Korah’s own desire for more authority.” Like Korah, people of prophetic renown subdue God’s original authority order seeking themselves some authority. This dangerous pitfall skips God’s intend to build authority and robs the journey God wants to walk developing the prophetic ministry. This selfish desire for authority causes us to reject God, reject His authority choosing and we are then uncovered of His blessings. “Unless the self-will of Cain and the self-seeking of Balaam in our lives is dealt with, they will evolve into a rebellion that rejects God’s anointed leadership, and even God Himself!” Thompson.

“It is proper to honor and esteem those who are gifted, but we must never allow their giftedness to overshadow their character. Jesus Himself said that we should judge men by their fruit and not solely by their gifts.” Thompson. The gifts of a true prophetic ministry will point to the characters of Christ, it won’t be limited to the prophet personal interest and will function in divine order as it serves one another. The fruits will be the true judgement of a prophetic minister. Thompson conclude his teaching with an edifying read that says:

“My experience has shown me several potential dangers in presenting these truths. First, those who need a word like this are prone to not receive it. Therefore, if you are called to prophetic ministry, ask God to examine you and see if there is any hurtful way in you. Also submit yourself to those to whom you are accountable for their input. If you do not have such relationships, you need to ask the Lord to help you find them quickly. The second danger is that many who do not need this message will receive it because of their humility. These will have a tendency to stop ministering until their motives are 100 percent pure. Hear this word: God does not want you to stop ministering; He wants you to minister in power and with His character. Continue in the way of the Lord while receiving the correction He brings to you. Third, many immature prophets look like false prophets. Therefore, if some leaders overreact to this message, there is a danger of destroying in their infancy many who are currently being groomed by God for prophetic ministry. Pastors, instead of erring in this way, learn to recognize the young prophets in your midst and help guide them into God’s perfect will for their lives. Regardless of these and other reactions, we must address these issues and press forward. God is restoring the prophetic ministry to the church and we must receive it. We must understand these wrong motivations in order to not only discern the false, but to also receive and pastor the emerging prophetic ministry so that it comes to fullness in our midst.”