How can you tell a true prophet from a false one? That's a big question, and it doesn't have a simple answer—not in New Testament times anyway.
It seemed simple enough in the Old Testament, didn't it? Deuteronomy lays it out in no uncertain terms: "But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?'—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him" (Deut. 28:20-22).
And it gets worse: "But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die'" (Deut. 18:20). Of course, we aren't living with this same standard today or we'd see plenty of Internet, TV and itinerant prophets being carried away in caskets. No, we have a new covenant with God and that includes a new paradigm for prophetic ministry—one that allows grace for innocent mistakes.
"Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it.
"If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it."
Those were the words of Charles G. Finney, a leader in the Second Great Awakening, recorded on Dec. 4, 1843. Those words were true then but are especially prophetic for our generation. Immorality is prevailing in the land. There is a decay of conscience. The media lacks moral discrimination. The church is degenerate and worldly. The world has lost its interest in religion. Satan rules in our halls of legislation. Politics are corrupt—and the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away.
There is a lot of confusion regarding the call into prophetic ministry. Many Christians are looking for confirmation. I get email frequently from people asking, "How can I tell if I am called to be a prophet?" This is an important question. In order to walk worthy of your calling, you first need to be confident God has called you. Once you are sure, you can count the cost and decide whether or not to embrace the spiritual battle that lies ahead.
Although I generally discount "checklists" that tell you whether or not you are an apostle or prophet or operate in some other ministry gifting, there are practical ways for believers to confirm a prophetic calling in their own hearts, which we will discuss in this chapter. And it is safe to say that if you are called into prophetic ministry, mature leaders around you will recognize that call eventually.
There are exceptions to that last point. Some pastors are too insecure to recognize the gifts and callings of those in their midst. But if you are called into prophetic ministry, be assured that people will discern that call in due season. You do not have to make an announcement, try to show off your prophetic gifts or otherwise strive to let people know. God will make it apparent in His time. In fact, waiting for Him to reveal your gifting in public ministry is part of the making process, the course of Holy Spirit training, teaching and practical experience that you will learn about through the pages of this book.
There is much talk about Christ's soon Second Coming. But we know that Jesus will not return for a church without spot or wrinkle unless the falling away comes first...
I wrote those words about 18 months ago in an article in which I asked the question: "Is the Great Falling Away Already Underway?" I was deeply concerned then that we could be witnessing the first fruits of the Great Falling Away about which the apostle Paul prophesies in 1 Thess. 2:3. I was concerned that we were at least seeing a shadow of the Great Apostasy.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article called "Apostasy Rising: 4 Denominations in Less Than a Week Defy God's Word" that went massively viral. All this has stirred my heart and the Lord has mantled me to pray—and inspire others to pray—for a Third Great Awakening in America. In yet another column on our Prophetic Insight blog, I shared what the Lord told me in 2007 about a Great Awakening coming to this nation.
When I kicked off a preaching series at a local church, the senior pastor charged me with bringing a word about politics.
I knew it would be a hard word because the body of Christ is divided over Democrats and Republicans, as well as many of the political issues they stand for.
As I ticked down some of the harsh realities we've come to face over the last several years, most of the congregation was eerily silent. I read and report on these issues every day, but it dawned on me that many don't follow the state of the union as closely. The looks on their faces revealed that they hadn't previously heard much of what I was saying.
We all walk through peaks and valleys—and we all have our wilderness experiences. But there’s a big difference between being a voice crying in the wilderness in obedience to God and finding yourself stuck in the wilderness, going around the same mountain over and over (and over).
I’ve experienced both realities, and I can tell you the former is liberating because you know you are smack-dab in the center of God’s will. The latter is frustrating because you know you’re absolutely missing it somewhere.
Of course, if you don’t have a revelation of why you are in the wilderness—if you are antsy for your big ministry debut, even though it’s not God’s timing—then you could be frustrated even in the will of God.
There are at least three reasons why you might be in the wilderness right now. You don't want to try to push your way out too early. But you don't want to stay there any longer than you have to, either.
First off, there is no room for personal opinion in the prophetic. Our “proof” must come from the Holy Spirit, not our own spirits or some other spirit. As mouthpieces for God, others take our words and insights very seriously, and we cannot abuse the grace people perceive on our lives.
"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
Many of you have heard the story of Henry Stanley, the ambitious American reporter who went to the Dark Continent in search of Dr. David Livingstone, an 19th-century missionary who explored sub-Saharan Africa.
When Stanley finally tracked down the famed evangelist, his first words when approaching the only other white man in Ujiji, Africa, were, as the story goes, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” The white man’s identity may have seemed like a no-brainer to the young journalist, but if he had been a prophet, Stanley’s presumption would have landed him in a heap of trouble. That’s because presumption is on God’s blacklist.
Over and over again, I’m reading about how youth are leaving the church as soon as they turn 18. I see study after study highlighting how Christian conservative values are turning off millennials who prefer social justice to culture wars.
I guess I’m not the only one who’s noticed it. I came across an op-ed in CNN by Daniel Darling, vice president of communications for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, that demanded my attention. The headline? "Millennials and the False ‘Gospel of Nice.’"
In it, Darling points out the same trends I’ve been seeing during my duties as news editor for Charisma magazine. It seems some in the younger generation are willing to water down the truth in God’s Word even as they stay busy fulfilling His command to feed the hungry. It seems some in the younger generation would rather allow a gay worship leader to take his place on the platform than stand for traditional marriage in the public square. Oh, and when more mature believers point back to what the Bible says about morality, they are labeled religious.
Fulfilling your prophetic promise means engaging in a battle to dispossess all the so-called "ites" from the land. But if you make this one mistake you could lose before you even get to the battle line.
Guest Column by Larry Sparks
Jennifer LeClaire helps make the journey to the prophetic lifestyle clear and practical in her new book, The Making of a Prophet. We recently discussed this on my BlogTalkRadio show Voice of Destiny, and during our time together I was reminded that prophets are truly a gift to the body of Christ.
Maybe you don’t feel this way.
(Guest Column by Larry Sparks)
The Bible tells us that in the last days, God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:17). These last days have been in effect since the Day of Pentecost, and this promised outpouring of the Holy Spirit includes men, women, young and old; none are exempt.
A vital part of this “last days outpouring” includes a release of the prophetic. Every single Christian has the ability to prophesy residing in his or her spirit, since the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers us to prophesy. Though every believer can prophesy, there are certain individuals who have been set apart to fulfill the role of a prophet in the body of Christ.
Jennifer LeClaire discusses the making of a prophetic, the difference between prophets and psychics, how prophets face spiritual warfare and other prophetic ministry topics on NBC's Change is in the Air radio broadcast. You can download a free sample chapter of the book here: https://jenniferleclaire.org/the-making-of-a-prophet or get it on Amazon.com, BN.com or wherever books are sold.
If you listen to my teachings on prophetic ministry for long enough—and maybe even just for a few minutes—you'll hear me say this: "You can't put a prophet in a box." What do I mean by this?