Beyond Ahab and the eunuchs, Jezebel had at least 850 false prophetic puppets to manhandle. These 850 prophets came from two different camps in Israel—they were the prophets of Baal and the prophets of Asherah, sometimes called the prophets of Jezebel. Queen Jezebel’s false prophets were wrapped up in a religious system that spoke contrary to the will of God, while Jehovah’s prophets were hidden in caves for fear of their lives.
Indeed, ironic is the fact that Queen Jezebel was executing the true prophets of God as if they were false prophets (1 Kings 18:4) while the false prophetic puppets were being pampered and eating prime rib in the palace (v. 19).
God clearly mandated that false prophets be put to death (Deut. 13:1-5) along with people who adopt idolatry or lead others into this spiritual adultery (Deut. 13:13; 17:2-7). Yet Ahab stood by as Jezebel massacred the true prophets of God under false pretenses to protect her puppets, so it’s no wonder she was murderously mad when Elijah executed true justice against her misaligned mouthpieces (1 Kings 18:40).
Since I was first born again, God has allowed me to witness spirits of error and full-blown deception over and over. And He’s called me to confront it more times than not. I’ve wept over souls falling headlong into pits of deception and been persecuted for walking away from ministries where strong delusions were leading people away from Jesus.
But make no mistake, there’s a huge difference between discerning a spirit of error that keeps people from a full understanding of Jesus and accusing people of full-blown heresy that keeps people from receiving salvation. Even though deception is running rampant in the body of Christ, I shun the work of heresy hunters who have made it their mission to discredit anyone and everyone with whose theology they some small a point of contention.
I get emails from heresy hunters every day suggesting I expose some ministry or another (and sometimes calling me foul names for hitting "delete"). Most of the Christian personalities these heresy hunters are working to expose aren’t heretics at all, though most flow in a measure of error because none of us have it all right all the time. Some are clearly deceived, but they still don’t quality as heretics. I also get emails from heresy hunters who sometimes disagree with what I write. But an email last week from a woman named Yvonne took the heresy hunting to a hellish level.
What’s your prophetic reputation? Are you known as the prophet who refuses to water down—or, worse, manufacture—a prophetic word to tickle the ears of those listening, or will you speak the prophecy boldly despite the persecution it may bring you?
Would you be willing to go to jail to maintain the purity of your prophetic ministry? Or would you instead go along with the hundreds of other prophets who give way to spirits of divination, Jezebel spirits, witchcraft or lying spirits in order to make hearers happy (and keep the offerings pouring in)?
Put another way, will you be like Ahab’s prophets or like Micaiah?
When Jesus said that false christs would arise, I don’t think He had the likes of Alan John Miller—or the many others over the years who have claimed to be Jesus—in mind. Miller has set the Twitterverse ablaze with his claims to divinity.
An Australian, Miller claims he arrived on the earth for the first time just more than 2,000 years ago. The 50-year-old former information technology guru—who also happens to be divorced—is making some wild claims on his Divine Truth website about himself and his second wife, Mary Suzanne Luck:
“My name then was Yeshua ben Yosef, or the Jesus of the Bible, the son of Joseph and Mary. Mary’s name then was Mary of Magdala, the woman identified in the Bible as Mary Magdalene. Mary was my wife then, and the first person I appeared to after I was crucified.”
When you start throwing golden calves into the fire—when you expose false doctrines, false gods, destructive heresies, false prophecies and anything else that perverts the Word of God—some people start gnashing their teeth at you.
Most are grateful that more prophetic messengers are lifting their voices against the heresy in hopes that innocent sheep won’t fall prey to wolves in disguise. But deceived believers work to discredit prophetic voices publicly—and even send threats privately. Yes, I’ve received threats for my recent columns about rock-star preachers spewing false gospels and my follow-up on naming names.
Of course, that’s not going to stop me from throwing golden calves into the fire. The public character assaults and the private threats only confirm the need to expose false doctrine and reveal truth. Jesus put it this way: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).
When preachers tour like rock stars, it’s no wonder sinners flock to stadiums. Of course, preachers holding stadium-sized events packed out with lost souls is awesome—unless those preachers present a hyped-up, watered-down, seeker-friendly gospel that’s giving the assurance of heaven while sending people to hell.
I am convinced that too many people who claim to be Christ-followers are not really saved because too many false teachers and false prophets are propagating a “different gospel” centered on “another Jesus” (see 2 Cor. 11:3-4). I am convinced that many self-professing saints are going to sit right next to sinners in hell when it’s all said and done—thanks, in part, to rock-star preachers presenting a hyped-up, watered-down, seeker-friendly gospel.
Especially in America, it’s easy to say, “I believe in Jesus.” It’s called mental assent. I believed in Jesus before I got saved, too, but I was still on my way to hell. Many who have “accepted Jesus into their hearts” have responded to a “different gospel” centered on a false Christ. This gospel is mixed with compromise. This gospel is impure and defiled religion. This gospel offers a humanistic, self-help message that taps New Age principles. Indeed, these false teachers and false prophets are moving in a false anointing and presenting a false Christ. And it’s deadly.
Yesterday, I alerted you to a nefarious attempt to hijack my identity and fleece the sheep in my name. This bad actor created a fake Facebook page, used my photo and other materials, and was replicating posts from my page to make it look and sound like me. This same person was sending out friend requests in my name to Christians and had already built up about 100 followers by the time you started alerting me to the scam.
After Facebook refused to do anything about it, I sent out a warning via my newsletter asking you all to report it. My goal was to protect people from being defrauded. You responded in droves and Facebook listened. The fraudster’s page has been removed, but that doesn’t mean he won’t try again. If you see anything suspicious about ministries you follow, please report it. There are many sincere believers out there looking for a prophetic word or prayer and don’t know that God’s true servants don’t charge you money for these things !
You all know that I preach hard against merchandising, so it’s ironic that the devil would try to use my personal brand to fleece the sheep. In fact, I'll be posting a column in Charisma magazine in the coming days about a merchandising scheme I recently ran into online from a "prophet." We need to pray that the body of Christ will receive greater discernment in this hour. If folks are fooled by false prophets looking for a pay day, how will they escape the rise of false prophets and false Christs and the great falling away?
I was once deceived. Or, you might say, I’ve been deceived more than once.
Like you, I was deceived before I was saved. My plan was to live however I wanted, repent when I got into my 40s and start going to church. I figured all would be well with my soul when I was ready to stop living in sin. God, in His mercy, had different plans for me. He encountered me in an undeniable way when I was 30, broke the deception and delivered me from evil.
Soon, though, I fell into another deceptive pit in a hyper-apostolic church that publicly taught “God, family, ministry” but secretly demanded, “Ministry, ministry, ministry.” Our Bibles literally fell open to Ephesians 4:11. And we spelled apostolic like this: w-o-r-k. This deception crept in through unbalanced—even extreme—teachings and superhuman expectations that wearied the saints.
Friends, I wanted to alert you to a demonic strategy to impersonate me and use my name to merchandise the saints.
Yesterday, someone hijacked my photos and created a fake Facebook account with the name Heart Ofthe Prophetic. This is a variation of my Facebook page, which has nearly 30,000 members. (Click here to join my REAL Facebook page.)
This nefarious character is replicating posts from my page to make it look and sound like me and sending out friend requests in my name to Christians and has already built up about 100 followers.
The promise of personal prophecy always draws a crowd. Many long to hear the voice of God and either don’t have confidence in their prophetic listening skills or are simply seeking confirmation about something they think God spoke to their heart.
I remember what it was like as a new believer when visiting prophets would roll through town. I waited in anticipation, hoping I would be the one called out to receive a life-changing prophetic word. Although I believe wholeheartedly in personal prophecy—and although I’ve attended many prophetic conferences—I’ve only had a “prophet” call me out with a word once. It was so far off base that it cured me of chasing personal prophecy.
Still, I get it. I understand that believers are sincerely hungry to hear God’s voice. And that, unfortunately, is one of the reasons prophetic ministry is so abused in this hour. It’s one of the reasons anyone who claims to be a prophet can so easily fleece some sheep or offer false prophecies that lead people away from God instead of closer to Him.
Every week I get at least a handful of digital requests from precious people all over the world desperately seeking a prophetic word. Some come begging. Others come demanding. Still others come with money in hand to buy a prophecy or dream interpretation.
Seriously, this happens just about every day and more than once on most days. It’s an unfortunate symptom of modern-day prophetic ministry—prophetic ministry that has too often taught people to depend on prophets to “go to the throne” and “get a word” for them instead of fulfilling the Ephesians 4:11 mandate to equip the saints.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all against personal prophecy. In fact, over the next two weeks I’ll be ministering on prophetic promises at my church. I fully expect the Holy Spirit to move. I fully expect many hungry believers to receive prophetic words. Personal prophecy—edifying, exhorting and comforting believers—is vital in this hour.
I was taking a long drive from South Florida to Orlando, praying in the Spirit, and asking the Lord to reveal some prophetic direction for 2013. I must have prayed in the Spirit for two hours before I heard these three words: “Return to Antioch.”
With a long, dark stretch of highway still in front of me, I could not readily dive into Scripture to seek understanding about what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me. So I continued praying in the Spirit and meditating on those three words: “Return to Antioch.”
When I opened my Bible to Acts 14, prophetic revelation for the body of Christ—particularly the leadership of the body of Christ—began to unfold:
When God called me to build the house of prayer, I knew it would come with opposition. I’ll admit, I never thought it would play out with literal Sanballats. But that’s just what has happened—and often these Sanballats come in sheep’s clothing.
Sanballat is an enemy of revival and brings strong opposition to what God wants to build. Sanballat is a critical persecutor who brings false accusations against the work and the people putting their hand to the plow. And Sanballat will rally others to the opposition against you, like Tobiahs and Geshems, just like he did to Nehemiah.
The spirit of Sanballat’s goal is to discourage you—to get you to quit what God has called you to do. This spirit’s overarching mission is to thwart God’s work. It’s a judgmental, mocking, insidious spirit that, again, sometimes comes in sheep’s clothing. Someone flowing in this spirit may even offer to come alongside and help you, but its intentions are to tear down—not build up—the figurative wall God is calling you to build.
While in prayer over the vision God gave Steve Hill about the “spiritual avalanche that could kill millions,” an alarming question nagged my soul: Could the great falling away already be underway? Could we be witnessing the first fruits of the great falling away even now? Are we at least seeing a shadow of the Great Apostasy?
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 … (1 Thess. 2:3). Although it’s nothing entirely new, we are indeed witnessing a fast-progressing departure from sound doctrine and a holy life.
Even a quick comparison between what Scripture tells us about the last days and the manifest sin that has penetrated our generation should serve as a wake up call to every believer: Don’t ignore the signs of the times. In His discussions on the end of the age, Jesus warned us not to let anyone deceive us (Matt. 24). If it weren’t possible to get caught up in the Great Falling Away, Jesus wouldn’t have issued such a strong warning to His followers and left a record of it for you and me.
In a global event that eclipses the hype of Y2K, doomsday preppers all over the world are readying for the end of time. As born-again, blood-bought, Bible-believing, and, yes, tongue-talking Christians, we, of course, know better than to buy into the Mayan calendar hype.
But what if Dec. 21 really was the end of world? What if Jesus cracked the sky on Friday and we were caught up to meet Him as Scripture prophesies. That’s not likely to happen, either. Even doomsday prophet Harold Camping finally admitted no one knows the day or the hour of the end of the age.
Still, it’s times like these that I can’t help but hear the lyrics to an R.E.M. refrain dancing around in my mind. You may know the rapid-fire song I’m thinking about called, “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”
This is coming to you from a man who has just passed through the valley of the shadow of death. Since my close call with eternity just a short while ago ... everything has become clearer. I can hear His whisper. Unabated obedience has become my mandate. That is why I'm writing this word from the Lord.
A few days ago, after enjoying quality time with Jesus, I was surprised by an alarming vision. I saw a massive, majestic mountain covered in glistening snow. It reminded me of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Its peaks were sparkling white and I was amazed by God's attention to detail. It was so realistic I wanted to go skiing! But I sensed that there was more that the Holy Spirit was about to reveal. As I closed my eyes, I was in a winter wonderland bustling with thousands of vacationers. The ski lodge, condos, hotels and cabins were at full capacity at this popular resort.
Day quickly turned to night as the skiers, snowboarders and sports enthusiasts were settling in. Anticipation grew as the snow began to fall. Everyone headed to bed believing tomorrow would be a day of sheer enjoyment on freshly covered slopes. For an avid skier, the exhilaration of being the first one to race down a new blanket of snow is a dream come true.