“I’m done with Prophets!” — Wait just a minute!

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My guess is that many believers have had it with the prophetic. They don’t want to hear another person say that God told them something of consequence. I was feeling the same way until I read a verse yesterday morning, that jumped off the page at me and I decided to wrote about it. Ironically, after I was done, I read an article from a colleague in Israel, who is also American-born. He wrote:

We have grown weary of false prophecies, false healings, false words from God…which is nothing but hillul Hashem – and taking up the Lord’s name in vain.  This should not be, and is certainly leading to disappointments which are facilitating the predicted Great Falling Away. (Elhanan ben-Avraham)

The verse was 1 Thessalonians 5:20 and it is for the sentiment above that I believe God moved on Paul to write it:

Do not treat prophecies with contempt.”

For those of us who believe in the power of God, you may have read that verse in the past and wondered, “Why would we ever despise prophecy or treat it with contempt?”

Let’s fast forward to January 2021. Just like those believers in Thessalonica, who had to deal with a plethora of false prophecy, many in the body feel burned by the recent false prophetic words. Sadly, it is not over. I just watched six “prophets” who are holding fast, with great boldness, to the false hope that President Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th, not Biden. Wednesday’s nightmare of the capitol being overrun wasn’t enough for them.

One of them, a woman yelling in the voice of God Almighty, taking the name of the Great I Am in vain, declared that Trump will be the 46th president. (She might want to tell God that when a president wins a second term, he keeps the same number, which in this case, would be 45. Forgive my sarcasm, but when someone is yelling and lecturing the body of Messiah in the voice of God the Omniscient [all-knowing], you would hope that they would get the basic facts right.)

This is the same situation in which the Thessalonians found themselves. They had had it with false prophets who had predicted the coming of the Lord. They had had it with false teachers who had peddled heresies. They probably were scared of being deceived. Remember, they did not have the Bible as we do today. Even the Hebrew scriptures were not readily available, as they were on scrolls and in Jewish synagogues. This is why Paul gave the believers creeds—to protect them from heresy until the word of God was canonized, centuries later.

“…Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve,After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to Jacob, then to all the apostles;  and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5, NASB).

They called their creeds the “tradition” and Paul warned the Thessalonians about associating with people who do not abide by this creed.

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, to keep away from every brother who walks irresponsibly and not according to the tradition received from us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

It would appear that the believers in Thessalonica had begun to despise prophetic utterances. But Paul loved prophecy. We see in 1 Corinthians 14 how we are encouraged to prophesy (v. 5). He states that it is essential for the building up of the body (v. 4), instructing them to not reject prophecy but, rather, to test prophecy.

Our present situation is particularly painful, because so many put their heart and soul into believing that God was behind the reelection of Donald Trump. Hundreds of leaders prophesied this. Even after the election, there was a massive prayer movement to “stop the steal.”[1]  After the Electoral College met on December 14th, prophets boldly predicted that Trump would overcome on January 6th. We made a video showing four false prophecies since November, where three of them promised a massive miracle or reversal during the Christmas season. (By the way, these men are all still prophesying daily on YouTube, as if their prophecies came to pass.)

So, yes, it is reasonable that there would be some disillusionment with prophecy. But Paul says to not reject the prophetic gift. We need it. What does this look like? The Greek word for “despise” in this verse is exoutheneo. It means to set at naught, to act as if you don’t need it. Paul uses this word when he speaks about judging our brothers in Romans.

“But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?” (Romans 14:10)

The context of Romans 14 is judging or despising someone’s convictions. Right now, we might be struggling a bit with prophecy. “I don’t need it! And I will never trust a prophet again!” I have seen this written online many times since November 7th.

We cannot fall into this trap, though. Prophecy is a big part of the New Testament life. We have a living faith and a living God. God still speaks today. Remember, the same Bible that tells us to go after the gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 14:1), also warns us about being deceived by false prophets (Matthew 24:4). Here is what we can do going forward to protect ourselves, while still loving the prophetic gift.

  1. Test prophecy. I am sure that most of these prophets did not have deep prophetic experiences regarding the Trump word, but simply copied other prophets, not wanting to be left out after the victory. One has already confessed this. So, before you believe a prophet, pray about it. Ask yourself, “Am I believing this just because it is what I want or is this really bearing witness with my spirit?”
  2. Check the track record of the prophet. I can tell you that one of the primary prophets leading this chorus has a track record of several recent missed prophecies. He was massively wrong on the mid-term elections and said God would have mercy on America regarding Coronavirus.
  3. No one can hear God for you better than you can yourself. While sometimes God will send a prophet to wake us up, in the New Testament, every believer has the Spirit. Don’t be overly dependent on prophets, as this is a trap that can lead to deception. You can hear God for yourself.
  4. Will their prophecies lead to incitement or violence? For instance, one prophet has been peddling civil war and talked recently about “godly” armed militias. Is that what we saw on Wednesday? Do we see such militias in the book of Acts? After Paul is illegally arrested in Acts 21, do they take up arms to rescue him? Is there anything in the Great Commission about private militias? Yeshua rebuked Peter for using his sword and told Pilate that His followers will not fight in his name, but that His kingdom is not of this world.
  5. Does it line up with the word? When a book came out in 1988, 88 Reasons Why Jesus is Coming back in 1988, we knew it was off, because Yeshua said we know the day or hour and we assume year.

In closing, there needs to be an audit regarding this past season. But we can’t go so far that we begin to despise such a precious gift. False prophecy is only going to grow worse with the excess of Facebook prophets looking for significance. We just have to be better at testing and discerning.

[1] While most of the accusations of fraud have been credibly debunked, I do hope that the justice department looks into voter fraud. We do need to know for future elections if our system is safe or corrupt.

This article originally appeared on Messiah’s Mandate, January 10, 2021, and reposted with permission.

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Ron and wife Elana make their home in Tel Aviv. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua—the Glory of Yeshua—a Tel Aviv-based, Hebrew-speaking Messianic congregation. Ron is a published author with Destiny Image Publishers, having written books like “Identity Theft”, “Leave Me Alone, I’m Jewish” and “The Jerusalem Secret”. Ron is a sought-out conference speaker and shares passionately about the Jewish Roots of the New Testament and God’s broken heart for His ancient people Israel.