I’ve witnessed for many years a troubling trend in the prophetic movement—a trend that is proliferating among pontificating voices who parrot true prophets. Essentially, there’s a lot of plagiarism in the prophetic.
This, mind you, is hardly a new trend. Jehovah God pointed it out thousands of years ago in Jeremiah 23:30:
“‘Therefore,’ declares the LORD, ‘I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me’” (NIV). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “‘Therefore,” says the Lord, ‘I am against these prophets who steal messages from each other and claim they are from me’” (NLT). The Holman Christian Standard Bible offers this spin: “‘Therefore, take note! I am against the prophets’–the LORD's declaration–’who steal My words from each other.’”
What a declaration!
The Lord is Against These Prophets
Noteworthy is the reality that God does not call them “false prophets.” You would expect false prophets to pour out plagiarize prophecies—and I am quite sure they do. But the Lord did not call them false prophets.
It’s been said imitation is the highest form of flattery. But to imitate someone’s prophetic word as if you got it straight out of a “profound prophetic dream,” a throne room experience or a still small voice coming unto you saying isn’t flattery. It’s a falsehood.
While I know all too well that God speaks to many different prophetic voices about the exact same word, scripture or theme, I am convinced prophetic plagiarists are acting like high-schoolers who didn’t have time to read their literature assignment and are depending on Cliff Notes instead.
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Why Do Prophets Plagiarize?
What is plagiarism, really? And why do prophetic pirates plagiarize? What motivates them?
Plagiarism is stealing and passing off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source, according to Merriam-Webster. This dictionary also defines plagiarize as “to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”
Here are five reasons prophetic voices parrot and plagiarize:
1. Pressure to prophesy abounds: The body of Christ largely has put such a demand on prophets to prophesy words Johnny-on-the-spot or to have some “new revelation” at the beginning of each month that some bow to the pressure and echo another voice pretending it was God’s speaking directly to them.
2. Pride enters the prophetic flow: Prophetic pirates think people perceive them as so spiritual and would never consider the fact they lifted a word, cheated in the name of Jesus and otherwise compromised the gift in which they claim to flow.
3. Lazy bones breeds lying prophets: Some prophets are too lazy to press into God for a pure prophetic word, so they lie about what they supposedly heard from the Lord. In reality, they heard it at a conference or on YouTube.
4. Low-self esteem kills prophetic confidence: Some prophetic voices don’t have enough confidence in what they are hearing from the Lord, so they parrot what they heard someone else say that impacted the saints.
5. Self-promotion puffs up: Prophetic scribes who get a big hit on the Internet want to ride the wave, but may not receive the consistent revelation they want so they borrow inspiration from other, more obscure voices and make it their own.
Plagiarizing is akin to lying and stealing. Leviticus 19:11 warns, “You shall not steal, or deal falsely, or lie one to another.” Prophetic pirates who shoplift prophetic words from the Internet are dealing falsely, and that’s one step toward false prophethood. We don’t need Robin Hoods in the prophetic.
If you’ve been a prophetic pirate or parrot, repent. God wants to give you your own unique prophetic expression. You’re more likely to hear something spectacular from God if you spend more time in His presence and less time listening to what others are prophesying.